If I had a nickel for every time that I heard a concept record about a bicycle, I’d have two nickels, which isn’t a lot but it is weird that it happened twice. The first of these two records in particular is Coheed & Cambria‘s Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (that’s always a mouthful). You could go as far to say that Coheed‘s first three records include this bicycle in question, but I am just lumping them together as a single entity as it’s all part of the same story at the end of the day. Now that brings us to the other mysterious concept album about the most efficient form of transportation on the planet. Let me say that you came to the right place, as Everything Is Noise is premiering The Cyclist Conspiracy‘s upcoming record, Mashallah Plan, in full and you can listen to it right here!
The Cyclist Conspiracy are a ten-piece collective based out of Belgrade, Serbia and they had this to say regarding the main theme driving (or rather pedaling) the album: ‘Mashallah Plan is a story about a spiritual journey on a bicycle. This simple device reveals its profound symbolism only through the path of most resistance and thus represents a perfect esoteric vehicle for The Dark Age we are living through’ – color me intrigued! As I read more about this unique band, it is evident that they’re on a mission to avoid making experimental music for the sake of making experimental music, but rather making a vibrant, cohesive musical journey that traverses both geography and time. With that being said, you’ll come to discover that The Cyclist Conspiracy‘s sound has a foundation in progressive and stoner rock, with all the psychedelic embellishments that you could ever want.
As I myself listened through this record, I was expecting elaborate lyrics that allow me to further dive down this bicycle-concept rabbit hole as I’ve done with Coheed in the past, but that isn’t what I found at all. While yes, there are vocals on this record, they’re mainly found in the form of vocalizations that exist only to add to the rich atmosphere of the various songs; as a result, there are actually no lyrics sung at all. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that this bicycle-concept was rooted in the instrumental journey across time and space that these tracks take you on rather than lyrics. The music itself was the bike ride all along…
The Belgrade collective are able to effortlessly craft a musical joyride that takes you through the Byzantine Empire, through lesser traveled nomadic paths deep in the desert, to bustling bazaars and cafés, and up the steppe for a séance with a shaman. The album artwork that you can see in the musical embed just above represents the musical tapestry from various eras and cultures across Northern Africa and the Middle East that are all captured in a single, fluid piece of music that successfully begs for your attention.
Just listen to the infectiously hypnotic closing track, “Simorgh”, and tell me that it doesn’t transport you across the world to the Middle East. It truly scratches that itch I have of wanting to travel the world and experience what it’s like outside my ‘bubble’, in which I am not able to do as the economy is in shambles and there is no way in hell I can financially justify a trip just for the fun of it. When there is music this real and culturally vibrant, it more than satisfies, at least temporarily, that inner need to go out and actually explore the world. Makes me feel just a little better about the depressing fact that I’ll never get to do that in my lifetime.
The more I listen, the more I’m convinced The Cyclist Conspiracy deserves a place amongst Kyuss and Sleep as a definitive desert rock band. For being a desert rock album, even with all the psychedelic undertones, there isn’t a single moment that drags on whatsoever as the album is incredibly tight and concise through and through. For those understandably picky when it comes to their stoner/desert rock, The Cyclist Conspiracy does the trick. Mashallah Plan releases on October 13 on Subsound Records and I highly suggest that you do yourself a favor and listen to this record. Hit their socials (Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram) to stay up to date with all things related to this new-to-me (and hopefully you) band!