Fans of the Bicycles and their gentle brand of indie pop need to get on board with Bunny right away. Fronted by that band's Drew Smith and featuring appearances from almost everyone else, Bunny's self-titled debut album is a sunny, funny, and sweet indie pop treat of a record filled with lilting melodies, lovely vocals, snappy tunes, and smart lyrics. Smith rounded up a core band of bassist Andrew Scott (of the Bicycles), keyboardist Dan Werb, guitarist Jordan Howard, and drummer Jay Anderson, then called in every favor he had to round up an impressive cast of characters including Marker Starling's Chris Cummings, the Elwins' Travis Stokl, Chris Sandes of Comet Control, By Divine Right's Jos Contreras, and Brent Randall (aka Gentle Brent). This killer lineup adds plenty of color to Smith's already bright and bubbly tunes; the combination of songs, voices, and arrangements puts the record somewhere between The Point, Pet Sounds, and a Christopher Cross single. There's a candy-coated smoothness to both the songs and the sound that makes them go down smoothly, and Smith's sometimes goofy dork-next-door vocals give it a Paul Williams-esque charm. Add in the occasional pedal steel, guest female lead vocal (on the album highlight "If You Wanna Be My Boy, You Gotta Be Cool," which sounds like a blown-out Bicycles tune, and the swooning '50s-style ballad "If Only in a Dream"), and classic chamber pop instruments like vibraphone and flute, and it's clear that Smith was looking to make a classic album. After one listen, it's clear that he (and his cadre of friends) came really close. Maybe a step below the Bicycles' timeless The Good the Bad and the Cuddly, but not too far off. Certainly fans of the Bicycles will love Bunny; so will anyone who loves pure pop with smarts and sweetness. ~ Tim Sendra
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