CD Review: Bike for Three

More Heart Than Brains (Anticon)

After a nearly 10-year hiatus, Canadian wordsmith Buck 65 returns to his old label with Bike for Three!, a duo that also includes Belgian producer Greetings From Tuskan. In the spirit of bands like the Postal Service, the two artists created More Heart Than Brains without ever being in the same room together — appropriate, since many of the songs deal with separation. Tuskan's dark and glitchy beat work is the perfect landscape for Buck's highly introspective lyrics, which are delivered with such emotion that you can feel his every ache. It's safe to say the rapper's heart has been broken recently, since the entire record is one constant tearjerker. Buck's signature flow — a sort of rap version of Tom Waits — has never sounded tighter than on "Lazarus Phenomenon," a poetic tale of love and longing. On "There Is Only One of Us," he expresses the pain and torture that memories of a lost love can bring. If that isn't heavy enough, Tuskan's epic textures and gorgeous melodies make it even thicker. The concept of great art coming from heartbreak may be a cliché, but a broken heart and a new musical partner have helped Buck 65 create his finest work yet. — Eddie Fleisher