The cheapest shot I could take at Bump Of Chicken and their last few singles would be saying how they all sorta sound exactly the same. They’ve been doing this thing where they shoot for wide-eyed wonder that, coupled with accompanying videos, seems to scream “childhood nostalgia.” Though mostly solid songs…certainly not bad…the succession of similarly sonic music just comes off as the equivalent of watching a young 20-something looking at like an old ant farm or something and getting all misty eyed over it. Nice enough once, but if they keep doing it you stop returning their calls.
Either bored by the nostalgia-rich vein they had been exploiting or sick of getting only answering machine messages, Bump Of Chicken deliver a refreshing left-field blast with latest release “Motor Cycle.” Foregoing elementary school daydreams for an aggressive push forward, the band actually plunge ahead here via a slick groove that borders on the math-y. Motoo Fujiwara’s singing always has come off as a little too precious-sounding, but the band wisely speed things up come the chorus to the point of almost overwhelming his voice with guitar. They even drop some nifty vocal robo-trickery in post-chorus to ramp up the track. Bump Of Chicken’s recent output certainly hasn’t been bad, but “Motor Cycle” towers above the rest of their 2010 resume, and not just because it sounds very, very different. Though, it’s still refreshing to see that one dude get away from his Mighty Max collection every once in awhile.