Nineties Indie kids might be pleased by the return of cult Scottish indie favorites Bis with a new album, data Panik etcetera, the trio’s first album in 13 years.
The perpetual genre-dodgers (New-Wave, disco, “Goth-techno”, electronica, I don’t know what else – when people describe Bis they throw in everything from Anime and Manga to punk-rock dance-pop) have played some recent live dates (which I’d like to think weren’t interrupted by kids shouting out for the Powerpuff Girls theme tune) and release data Panik etcetera on May 5th in both digital download and CD format, with Amazon taking pre-orders.
I admittedly wasn’t massively into Bis in the nineties myself, but knew their main ‘hits’ and I knew one or two people (the proper indie-kids who were always cooler than me and knew way more bands than I did – you know the type I’m talking about) who were crazy about them; and so the advent of Manda Rin, Sci-Fi Steven and John Disco putting out new music in Bis form (despite having been highly active in other incarnations since Bis’s split a decade ago) will be happy news for the cool kids of the late 90s who can relive “The New Transistor Heroes” days and a piece of their adolescence as well as take in the new musical offerings.
Assuming they haven’t become jaded, mortgage-owning middle-management types by now.
data Panik etcetera is the fourth album from famously the first unsigned band to ever play Top of the Pops. Their previous two albums Social Dancing and Return To Central failed to do massive business commercially or match the success of their debut, but you always sense with a group like Bis that they really don’t care about that side of things; being hipster music aficionados first and foremost, they’ve always seemed like the epitome of music for the love of music.
Album openers Control The Radical and Minimum Wage are catchy, vibrant stuff in classic Bis form, sounding like new-wave pop songs. That lively, almost gleeful manner that characterises most of Bis’s music underpins most of these new creations still, the trio permanently coming across as eternal teenagers, with that almost adolescent enthusiasm for their own musical output and for music in general.
Whether or not you always dig the particular track, Bis’s bouncy, lively energy is refreshing to listen to, as contrasted to the significantly less energetic efforts that a lot of other acts tend to put out when they’re over a decade removed from their initial blast.
There’s always something pleasing about listening to or watching an act that has this great, infectious, child-like enthusiasm in what they’re doing.
Even when embracing disco and electro-pop, the new-wave/punk roots are always discernible in what Bis does, which is how I can listen to them without feeling like I’m drifting from my comfort zone. The standout track on this album for me is The Young Mothers; a simple, but infectiously catchy song that should be the lead single. Though Flesh Remover also stands out on early listens and Sense Not Sense hits you about halfway through and demands repeated listens.
The rest of the tracks are no doubt growers, aided by the kind of inventive production and mixing to be expected from honour graduates of the university of music.
data Panik etcetera is available on May 5th in both digital download and CD format. You can preview the album here. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s Christopher Lee as Dracula on the album cover – and that’s always a good thing.
Also now that I’m properly listening to a Bis album… am I finally one of the cool kids yet?