by Bradley Donalson
There’s no sophomore slump in out artist Derek Bishop’s second album Bicycling in Quicksand. Bishop blends euro-pop, disco, and new wave together into a high-energy blend that will unapologetically stick in your head and drive you slowly insane…in the best possible way.
The whimsical, leather-clad Bishop was an art director on Broadway before making the transition into becoming a full-time musician, and it influences not only his voice but the artistic choices behind the visuals of the album as well. He wasn’t just the singer, songwriter, and keyboardist on the album; he also took on being a stylist, art director, and photographer. “I find music to be an extremely visual thing,” says Bishop, “so I’ve paid just as much attention to the photos, videos, and packaging of my albums as to the musical instruments we played and the style of music.”
The visuals include the scruffy singer in his signature leather pants surrounded by the guts of musical tape. This seems to be halfway accurate as a way to describe Bishop’s musical style. He guts other styles of music like ‘80s synthpop, ‘70s disco, and new wave, and mixes them together, douses them in caffeine and lighter fluid and then proceeds to dance in the most beautiful musical flames.
Bicycling in Quicksand leans heavily on driving drumbeats and spirited synth layered over a booming baseline to give it a unique style, but the occasional saxophone or marimba add an extra level to the joyous concoction. The lead single, “Baggage,” is an example of the type of music found on the album—danceable and catchy. The other standout from the album is the title track “Bicycling in Quicksand.” It’s a little heavier than the other offerings on the album, but there’s something about the mix of ethereal sax and background vocals with the drum hits and bass that gets stuck in your head. You’ll find it running through your head throughout the day.
Bishop’s Bicycling in Quicksand is currently available on iTunes, Google Play, and at derekbishop.net.