Release Date: May 5, 2014
Record label: Do Yourself In
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Has there ever been a more brilliantly ‘indie’ band than Bis? The Glasgow trio formed in 1994, managed to fluke their way onto Top of The Pops with zero profile by impressing the producer with their cute-as-a-button Peel-approved single ‘Kandypop’, and proceeded to carve a career out of stompy, shouty, naggingly catchy electro indiepop mostly concerned with bringing about a “teen-c revolution” with their stripped-down guitar / guitar / keyboard / vocal / vocal / vocal charm (they listed their drum machine as a fourth member. ) They did the theme to Power Puff Girls, forever cementing their association with cheeky anime, and were generally rather well-liked. They were glorious and, obviously, massive in Japan.
After the D.I.Y. punkers turned disco wavers bis split up in 2005, the three members of the band (Sci-Fi Steven, John Disco, and Manda Rin) decided to carry on under a different name, with a slightly different style. After adding two new members, Stuart Memo (of Multiplies) and Graham Christie (ex-Kenickie tour drummer), they rechristened themselves Data Panik and over the course of a year released one and a half singles.
The music industry’s changed a lot since bis last released an album, never mind when they released their first. Back in 1996, when New Transistor Heroes appeared in all its scratchy vinyl and cut and paste cassette glory, the DIY scene was unwittingly having its last hurrah before digital would come along and make indie a whole lot more accessible. In the pre-internet age, bis lived outside the worlds of Melody Maker and Select, gaining credence and gathering up fans through fanzines – not least through singer Manda Rin‘s own photocopied efforts.
It’s the Bis-ness If you’re going to leave a Stone Roses-like gap between albums then you’d better come up with something special when you return. Thirteen years after Return To Central, Bis have remastered a select 12 tracks of material, recorded between 2004 and 2006 – some for their post- Bis outfit Data Panik – for Data Panik Etcetera. Right from opening track Control The Radical, Bis go for the jugular with a blend of XTC, Franz Ferdinand and electro, confecting a near-perfect LP.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The history of bis, since their split in 2003, is one that seems to defy the very meaning of 'break-up'. After playing a farewell show at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, the cult Glaswegian trio were apart for just two years before forming new band Data Panik with Stuart Memo and Graham Christie. However, after releasing a couple of singles they split citing difficulty in meeting the expectation of being a post-bis band.
Can it be almost 20 years since unsigned Glasgow trio Bis gatecrashed Top Of The Pops with the shock and awe of twee standard-bearer ‘Kandy Pop’? Thanks to that song, Manda Rin, Sci-Fi Steven and John Disco will always be synonymous with youthful exuberance, and in the intervening years they’ve lost none of their vim. ‘Cubis (I Love You)’ is rampant death disco, ‘Rulers And The States’ is like a full-throttle machine-phase Gary Numan, ‘Sense Not Sense’ is like Duran Duran on poppers partying harder than Duran Duran. In defiance of a criminal lack of universal adulation, they just get better, harder, faster, stronger, and you boggle at just how formidable they might be in their dotage.Jeremy Allen .
When is a Bis album not really a Bis album? When it's actually a Data Panik album. The Glasgow trio's fourth LP since unleashing their maniacal indie-electro-pop on the world in the mid '90s, data Panik etcetera is a re-styling of material made during a lengthy career pitstop (during which they briefly went under the name Data Panik). .
In their own weird way, Bis were one of the nineties’ most quietly important bands: responsible for one of the most indelibly huge songs of the decade – the Powerpuff Girls theme tune – they were unfathomably huge in Japan, and the first unsigned band to go on Top of the Pops. They made their own scene, and no one else could touch the hyperactive bubblegum punk they called “Teen-C”. Their spark seemed to fizzle out by the time all their members turned twenty (let’s call it Ash syndrome), but in a month of anniversaries, deluxe reissues and overly ponderous think-piece articles, maybe the time is right for bis to make their glorious comeback.