The Shrubbery
September 1999
[Aaddzz Counter]
Current Issue
Back Issues
Article Index
About Us
Check your mail, foo'!

Get a free Shrubbery e-mail address

In Association With

This page copyright 1999 The Shrubbery

Bis Social Dancing (Grand Royal)

Review by Courtney Knopf

The long anticipated domestic release of the latest Bis album is finally upon us, just in time to help kick the end-of-summer blahs. I must admit that prior to Social Dancing I wasnít really a fan. There were times when Manda Rinís screeching made me want to punch my fist through a wall. However, Iím far too conscientious of my manicure to have ever really done that. But believe me, I did give it some serious thought, and Iím not alone; someone I know who is a steadfast Bis fan once likened her Ďsingingí to something akin to a squealing pig stuck in a drain pipe. But Social Dancing ushers in a new era because thank the Gods, Manda Rin took voice lessons.

Itís a hyper and energetic album that immediately kicks into high gear with "Making People Normal," that cheekily name checks Ricki Lake and Jenny Jones thanking them for making them over into something more socially acceptable. Never without irony or bratty insolence, Rin, Sci-Fi Steven and John Disco cook up some tremendously impertinent and damn catchy lyrics. "Iím A Slut" blatantly thumbs its nose at possessive boyfriends with the choice verse "Why canít I wear make-up tonight?/Donít really think my t-shirtís too tight/Going out canít let me out of your sight/Can I see my friends without a fight." and the AM radio fiesta of "Action and Drama" is the only song I know of to rhyme the phrase Ďeighties Madonnaí with Bananarama. "Iím Stronger Now" is a throwback to 80ís new wave and John Disco seems to be channeling the non-Bjork member of The Sugarcubes.

The most marked maturation on the album is the first single, the aptly named "Detour," which is a sultry drum and bass driven track that includes a guest appearance by Olympia, WAís resident indie queen, Lois.

"Sale or Return" is also a bit of a drum and bassy divergence and faintly reminds the listener of a spy theme. And for good reason; it includes a sample of John Cacavasí "Agent Who." The brats are slowly but surely on the way to growing up.

The sound of Bis, which Manda Rin has described as punktechnodisco, is about as apt a description of the band that youíre likely to find. But with the release of Social Dancing you could probably find a few more adjectives to stuff into that word. While tracks like "The Hit Girl" and "Listen Up" founder to find their place amongst the rest of the tracks on the album, the orchestral strings of "Theme From Tokyo" and throbbing bass of UK club anthem "Eurodisco" show that these three kids from Scotland have a thing or two up their sleeves. Packed with more energy than all three Powerpuff Girls combined, itís no surprise that the band was tapped to record the showís theme song. Teen-C power, indeed.

[86%] B

Buy Social Dancing at!

Check out or for more info about Bis. Catch them on tour this fall as well as their show at NYCís Bowery Ballroom on September 18th for the CMJ Showcase (Check for more info).

Back to Main