Bamboo Shoots | Armour (Epic)

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cd_bamboo-shoots.jpgIt's dance-y, it's fun, it's retro and current and maybe a little boy band-ish.

I'm not sure if this one constitutes a guilty pleasure or not. It's dance-y, it's fun, it's retro and current and maybe a little boy band-ish. But no, I profess that it is not: I listen to it freely in public with nary a wisp of shame in my face.

So now let's do a little audience participation, shall we? Before you read any further, pull up a new window, go to the band's MySpace page and listen to "Hey Girl." This uber-addictive track kicks off the album and bodes very, very well for the 10 subsequent tracks. In other words, once you listen, you'll be hooked. The band's press materials proclaim "Hey Girl" to be an homage to Prince's "Controversy." I was never a huge fan of the be-purpled one, but OK; I can hear a slight similarity. Next up, "Wrong All Along" keeps the beat. Avir Mitra has a deliciously high voice, utterly enviable and sing-along-able.

It's hard to pick a favorite here as, but "Where the Ocean Meets the Road" is definitely near the top of my list. It's got meandering keyboards and an urgent refrain, followed by Mitra's soothing falsetto. The tempo doesn't ease until "This World Is Beautiful," a lovely yet simmering number. Urgent pleas back gentle "ah"s in the refrain, creating an interesting dichotomy between what is said and what isn't. The song segues easily into "Milk, Satin, Silk," another dreamy track, yet one which once again displays some not-too-camouflaged teeth just under the surface.

Lest you get too comfortable, "Shake It (Off)" turns those embers into a full-fledged fire. Up next, "Whenever You're Around" builds, builds, builds...and keeps you wanting. "If You Should Die" is a somber song beneath a light and airy façade: "If you should die, why don't you die alone/ this is no love at all." A relentless, dark and dirty keyboard line underscores "Speeding Star," while "Don't Turn Out Your Light" is best listened to with the lights down low.

The vocal effects of "The Last Time" are a definite '80s throwback—but it's so much fun you'll only focus on its freshness. With this relentless, upbeat song, Bamboo Shoots ensure their album goes out with a bang. Lyrically, there are some Prince comparisons here: "Let's dance like it was the last time," goes the Shoots' side of the story. If you're like me, when this one ends you'll be hitting "repeat" and listening to the whole thing all over again...and again. A- | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Under the Influence of Giants, Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre, Prince before he took himself too seriously

*This Brooklyn band has an interesting story to boot. They were snapped up by Epic Records after winning mtvU's Best Band on Campus award...this just days before Mitra was to have begun medical school. The doc stuff was put on hold, the band debuted on Conan O'Brien, and Bamboo Shoots' upward trajectory was underway. Another fun fact: Bamboo Shoots is a band with members all of Indian descent. 

Catch Bamboo Shoots at Cicero's 12.09.09


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