Who are you, Bibio? You have, at times, seemed ready for a funky Burial over by Mount Kimbie (apologies for the electronic music artist puns). But then you make calm indie guitar songs like “Lovers’ Carvings” or just pluck your guitar over a kick drum like in “Saint Christopher”.
Bibio is rather uncommitted to the electronic music genre, and he betrays it by including a power pop song as the first song of T.O.Y.S., his new EP. The track is called “Take Off Your Shirt”, and you really have to search for reasons why it’s novel in any way. It’s definitely catchy, well-produced, and just generally good, but the quickly-sung lyrics over power chords is hardly anything new. You could even say it lacks the organic feeling of a lot of rock songs, e.g. “Time for Heroes” by The Libertines, for instance. But it’s still an anthemic, well-executed pop track that I’ll probably end up playing a lot (because that’s what you do with catchy songs).
The truth is that Bibio lets us down a bit on Track 1 only to earn redemption on Track 4, which is actually just an alternate version of the same song called “Take Off Your Skirt” (as opposed to “Take Off Your Shirt”). Now, this record is like a Bibio showcase, from the live crowd noises to the plucked guitar riff, shiny synth melodies, muffled vocals, extraneous sounds, and the keyboard and guitar solos in the middle of the track. Bibio is fucking clever. Around the 3:20 mark, he even manages to switch gears and goes into this glittery reprise. Interestingly, what “Take Off Your Skirt” reminds me of is big-band jam sessions like the middle sections of fifteen-minute live Springsteen tracks.
On this EP (really just the last track), Bibio the man becomes Bibio the band. Bibio seems to be going in the same direction as Daft Punk, trying to use the sounds of real instruments to get away from the standard tropes of the electronic music scene. The middle two tracks off T.O.Y.S. are your standard experimental electronica fare, which is boundary-pushing almost by definition. But too many artists these days get off on making records that my parents would hesitate to call music, and I applaud Bibio for reaching an organic sound by the end of his four-track EP. No, it’s not quite the sweet sounds of Springsteen, but it’s not that far off in terms of style. It’s basically like if Bruce were an experimental electronic music producer.
The point is that you should listen to “Take Off Your Shirt” and then listen to “Take Off Your Skirt” quite a bit more.