Music Reviews
When Fish Ride Bicycles

The Cool Kids When Fish Ride Bicycles

(Green Label Sound) Rating - 6/10

When Fish Ride Bicycles, the phantom album that killed any possible hype because it was discussed without delivery for so long, has finally appeared. Basically, the young hipster-hop “cool” cousins of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince just showed up at the 4th of July BBQ. You may have noticed their arrival, or maybe you’re more enthralled with the egg salad. Either way, the humble late-80s beats streaming from the 808s seem familiar and are still pretty sick for being a recycled sound. Regardless of how many times “debut” will couple the title, we’ve heard a number of singles, mixtapes, plus the EP, The Bake Sale, from these minimalist rappers, so it’s not like they’re new to the scene. Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish squeezed every last drop out of Myspace. It was time to graduate to a full length album with the Green Label Sound, which may have provided the means to produce this record with bigger names, like Pharrell and Ghostface, but it’s still Mountain Dew. This contributor to obesity and type 2 diabetes in America may have once been connected to hip extremism, but the product placement on the cover is simply not cool.

It’s not like The Cool Kids are rapping about war or other political blunders. When Fish Ride Bicycles is about cars, shoes, summertime and swimsuits with an old school beat, yo! Just what you need to forget about any global economic collapse! The opener, Rush Hour Traffic, will be satisfying if you’re looking for something fun to drive to while simulating an A1A cruise on your way home from work. Their flat vocals match the sluggish beat and if you listened long enough to hear the transition into GMC and Boomin’, you’ll hear this formula continue with the incorporation of more synth details, followed by a short R&B event featuring Tennille. Drummer boy, Travis Barker, helps to pick it up midway with Sour Apples. There’s an expected tight rhythm, and it’s nice to move a bit faster after the lazy beats in the beginning. I personally think the echolalia could have been left out on this one, but if you like systematically yelling the last word to every refrain, then you might hold a different opinion. Towards the end, Roll Call and Summer Jam shape the bell curve of this album and bring it back down: lackadaisical drum and bass, simple melodies, flat spoken word raps and a pinch of R&B. Rinse, lather, repeat.

When Fish Ride Bicycles is like any high school parking lot. There are cool kids, newcomers, wallflowers and seniors that should have graduated last year but decided to stick around because it’s still fun and easy. This long awaited LP is safe. Most tracks lay a nice foundation for remixes. The nostalgia from a simpler 1980’s Def Jam period of time is really the best part about the album. The question remains: Could this have been chopped up and served in bite size Myspace singles and mixtape pieces? In my opinion, …probably. But, the evolution of its existence aside, The Cool Kids completed an average and acceptable record with a little help of their friends.