62. Bis – “The New Transistor Heroes”

I’ve always had a predilection for ‘cartoon-pop’. This includes bands that explicitly embrace a comics-style persona Gorillaz), as well as those who offer graphics-heavy imagery (Pop Will Eat Itself), and, at a stretch, those who are merely ‘larger than life’ (Primus).

bis-new-transistor-heroes-album-coverThis fascination has been around since my early days of music buying. My first album purchase was from distinctly vaudevillian heavy rockers Twisted Sister. And while I never bought into the Sigue Sigue Sputnik hype, I did have a slight crush on their late 80s contemporaries Westworld.

There seems to be some tradeoff between image and content however. The most cartoony of ensembles has struggled to produce a sound as appealing or catchy as the visuals.

Scottish trio Bis offer yet another attempt to integrate manga-stylings to punk-pop. They kick off with the requisite character intros and proceed to offer 16 upbeat tales of life in 2D. The Rotten-esque vocals on some tracks are funny, the disco-punk thing presages MGMT and Hot Chip, but ultimately it lacks sufficient hooks to retain interest. The electronic dimensions are too underplayed (especially compared to their standout Groovebox effort).

In lieu of any lengthier discussion, let’s see some visuals… but from Westworld instead:

File under: The picture’s worth more than the words


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