Bis : Return To Central

Mogwai man guests on Scottish lo-fi return...

Ah, Bis – the bright-eyed Scottish cuties that everyone absolutely loved for

about five minutes in 1996, and then proceeded to hate with a passion usually

reserved for solo Spice Girl careers. The last five years have not been easy

for Manda Rin and pals, and even the knowledge that they pre-empted the

phoenix-like rebirth of electro-pop on their last album – ’99’s ‘Social

Dancing’ – is blunted by the fact that it only looks faintly impressive with

the benefit of hindsight.

But with the spirit of futurism born anew, can Bis recapture that elusive

zeitgeist? Well, kind of. There’s at least three great songs here – the seedy

technoid rush of ‘Chicago’, a rather good hidden-track cover of Joy Divison‘s

‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, and the nouveau Detroit rush of ‘Robotic’,

featuring Mogwai‘s Stuart Brathwaite on guest vocals and, if you screw your

eyes up and imagine really hard, some very comical bodypopping.

Still, next to Electroclash sleazemeisters Fischerspooner, shimmying their

way out of Manhattan in a riot of transexual chic and depleted trust funds,

the dole-queue disco of ‘Return To Central’ sounds plucky but incomplete.

But to be fair, if you’re talking glamour, Bis are not maybe not the first people you think of.

Louis Pattison