Bis Return To Central

Any fan of Bis's older catalogue, like The Secret Vampire Soundtrack and The New Transistor Heroes, might be a little surprised by their third album, Return To Central. Abandoning the short, punky pop songs of the past, this Glasgow trio have delved deeper into the electronics they have shown an interest in recently. Giving nods to artists such as Soft Cell and 808 State, Bis have found a serious tone and new sound with their maturity. "The End Starts Today" is more like New Order than Le Tigre and "Protection" sounds like a Madonna track remixed from the '80s. Manda Rin's voice has developed into a nice, powerful weapon, which she can use innocently ("Robotic") or like a vixen ("Two Million"). Unfortunately the same can't be said for the guys in the band. Instead of building on their vocal abilities over the years, they have made the transition from enthusiastic shouting to some horrible crooning. For a band that once started a lo-fi, disco punk movement in the UK, it's fitting that as they get older their music matures with them. Still, they need to work on finding John and Steven some decent vocals. (Spinart)