Artist: The Bikini Carwash Company
Album: Bicycle (2004)
Home-made recordings of finely-tuned songs in hand- silkscreened packaging. The Bikini Carwash Company is rock music and ear candy molded into a ball of fun.
Hijack Jupiter's Scott Wiener goes solo under an indie pseudonym that references the great softcore late-night film The Bikini Carwash Company. His debut album, Bicycle, is 14 songs of pop-rock craftsmanship by a man who obviously knows what he's doing. After a soothingly deceptive "Introlude," the album flies into high gear with "Learning to Trust the BBC." Wiener's varied but unassuming voice accounts for a lot of his album's charm; he sounds like your best friend playing in his garage, although that would be difficult, since Wiener plays all but a select few of the instruments (cello, trumpets). "Up to the Kitchen" impresses with its basic rhythm, its chorus, and with an energetic drum line near the end. "Shift Key" is a one-minute treat that begs for a longer interpretation, and "The Devil" is full of wonderful non sequiturs like "the devil splits a hair on my head" and "the king abbreviates longer words." Catherine Odell's cello and trumpets from Jack Taylor and Carl Schoenberger really enhance the atmosphere that ends abruptly to introduce "Are You My Girlfriend," a delightful longing tune with a Beach Boys vibe. "Dinosaurs!" is a TV theme song waiting to happen (did you know that they are "better than a weekday"?) that that leads into the centerpiece of Bicycle, "Your Guitar," a multi-layered piece that reveals its secrets bit by bit. The vocal effect only enhances the lonely feeling of the dual guitars. "Everybody's Family" makes the proposal that "Aunt Kathy's in everybody's family". But the great thing about pop is that it doesn't have to make sense, it only has to be catchy, which The Bikini Carwash Company has definitely mastered. I could see this one being another sitcom theme. The continual repetition of the title does not become grating, due to the musical diversity. In fact, the diversity of songs, instruments, and genres on Bicycle renews my faith in the quality of modern songwriting.