"Don't Be Surprised When You See Us Bears"
Lighthearted and a whole lot of goofy is what smacks the listener in the mug during the initial spin of The Bicycats' "Don't Be Surprised When You See Us Bears." The band is essentially Rochester expat Zachary Bernstein, now living and writing in Los Angeles, with assorted musicians. Bernstein has been spending his time writing for stage and screen — and a few of those soundtracks can be found on his Bandcamp page — so this is the first Bicycats album since 2008's "How Could You?"
Bernstein exhibits a droll and casual singing style on tunes that are as equally droll and casual. "Don't Be Surprised When You See Us Bears" shows he hasn't lost his gift for making intuitive oddball observations with a poppy afterglow. "I feel like a stick of butter melting in the microwave when I've got my eye on you" he sings on the bossa nova-tinged number "Eye On You." And he taps nicely into a Tin Pan Alley shuffle and bump with "The Foremost Kisser," where he intones "I'll never be an adjective, but I'll always be a noun" — a noun that wrote a new national anthem, "My Home America," included here with the other 10 tracks. This is fun, quirky, and optimistic. Rochester misses you, my boy.