The debut album from Ontario three-piece, Bleeker is packed with musical variety, from poppy melodies to thumping alt-rock anthems. For Taylor Perkins (Vocals), Cole Perkins (Guitars) and Mike Van Dyk (Bass) this album has been a long time coming. The band formed back in 2003 when Cole was barely out of short trousers. Those that saw the band in the early days (when they were known as Bleeker Ridge) were impressed at their aptitude, but their youth meant that their musical identity was nascent. Fast forward to 2017 and the band have put together an accomplished album that's riddled with attitude, oozes character, radiates memorable tunes and certainly gives the band their own personality. There's a passing reference to other acts like Scissor Sisters, Don Broco, Robbie Williams and Elvis Costello (the guys do a blinding version of Radio, Radio that rivals the original), but the band manage to blend all these influences together to create the strongest debut album of 2017 so far.
Highway, the lead single, has already reached number 10 on the Canadian charts and has the pulsating, up-tempo rock vibe that makes the track destined to be played for years to come.
The vibrancy of youth shines through on Getting Out and Erase You, which are filled with heavy, punk style riffs. These tracks are matched with the maturity of work demonstrated on songs like I'm Not Laughing Now. Although they have a commercial sound, Bleeker show a musical complexity and diversity reminiscent of bands like Felix Hagan & The Family. Taylor channels his inner Jake Sheers with a surprising falsetto on Where Is Your Money, that begins as Royal Blood and ends as floor filler with an irresistible chorus.
The Emergency is another shape shifting track that never once becomes predictable or dull. Close Your Eyes is another alt-pop glory from a near perfect debut. The album draws on so many elements that each track is different to the last, but there's a consistent theme to their work that maintains some thematic continuity. The focus on the melody is strong enough to appeal to a broad audience and the style is edgy enough to stop them from being too clinical. “I'm gonna climb on top of the world,” Taylor declares towards the end of the record and with a debut album this good, the world is far from bleek.
Groupie Rating: 4/5