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Return to Central

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 18, 2001
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. What You're Afraid Of
  2. Silver Spoon
  3. Black Pepper
  4. The End Starts Today
  5. Protection
  6. Two Million
  7. Chicago
  8. Metal Box
  9. We're Complicated
  10. Robotic
  11. A Portrait From Space


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 18, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Spin Art
  • ASIN: B00005NVJT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,957 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. De Gregorio on October 3, 2001
Format: Audio CD
It appears that bis has matured, much to my approval, from the pre-teen adolescence of "Social Dancing" to twenty-something nostalgia without having to deal with the stupidity of puberty. The sound of Return to Central is very different from earlier bis albums, but I think it is a good thing. As I grow older (I'm currently 23 now), I couldn't really enjoy bis as much as I used to. Now this CD plays on repeat in my car. The songs perfectly improve on themes from "Social Dancing" but with more intellectualism and experience. But there is enough hearkening back to the days of childhood innocence that all of us "post-teens" can relate. For example, "A Portrait From Space" could very well have been penned in the 80's by some new wave band (If you think that's a bad thing, then forget what I just said. The song is excellent regardless.) and there are a couple songs that use video game sound effects to carry the melody (remember the days of 8-bit Nintendo?).
In addition, the band actually sings on this album. Too much lyrical yelling, found in excess on "Social Dancing", can get on one's nerves. I was especially impressed with Manda Rin's husky tones, which reminded me of Shirly Manson's voice of Garbage fame ("Two Million" sounds alot like a Garbage song as well).
One word of warning, although it doesn't really matter at all. Two of the tracks ("Black Pepper" and "Metal Box") are just minute-long filler, not real songs. But the real set of nine songs is long enough to fill out the album.
On a personal note, I believe that bis is the most unlucky band out there. They've had huge hits in Europe, but they've never been able to strike it big here in the US, despite their talent. Every release is on a different label. The artwork of this CD attests to their current meager situation. I believe that it is the duty of every bis fan to spread the word, for the sake of the band. It would be a shame if they couldn't make music anymore just because they can't afford to.
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Format: Audio CD
On first (greatly anticipated) listen to Bis's latest album I lamented that it wasn't like Social Dancing, a disc I loved because it was so immediately catchy and funny and snarky. The guitars have pretty much gone on Return to Central, as has the punk-pop aesthetic (some might have called it adolescent, but it was sure fun) in favor of what I can only call an attempt at sweep--orchestration, larger, weightier sounds. And I like it. But I like it in different ways from the ways in which I liked Social Dancing. Sometimes when a band's new release is very different from what fans have come to expect the attempt is bemoaned for not giving the public what it wants, but that's not really the point, is it? Bis literally ARE maturing, folks--their first releases came out as they were teenagers after all. What is wonderful about Return to Central is that the band's evolution seems organic and not forced. On first listen I found maybe only two songs immediately catchy--"Silver Spoon" and "Chicago" (perhaps unusual in that neither are lead-sung by Manda) because they both sport memorable choruses and BPM's. All of these songs are longer than the ones on Social Dancing, but they're also somewhat more contemplative--not that Bis has forgotten the dancefloor at all; the songs simply move you in different ways. The songs all feature downright lush orchestration and a clear attention to the DJ boards, and many of the songs end on absolutely beautiful, memorable, and cinematically sweeping notes. So this may be different for Bis given what we've heard from them in the past, but theirs is a musical evolution that is richly rewarding. I'm very glad I bought the disc.
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By A Customer on December 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I must say, this album really impressed me. Now, I must admit, I am a Bis fan, and a pretty hardcore one at that. I waited for, like, a year to buy this record, and I must say, I am beyond pleasantly surprised.
In a way, this was a pretty obvious direction for Bis to take (emotional electronica). Back in the days of "This is Teen-C Power!" they were cute, fun pop-punk. They matured into "The New Transistor Heroes" which took a much more anarchistic approach to their music. "Social Dancing" was a quick move into the elctronica scene, but definitely hung onto their rock interests. "Music For a Stranger World," although very electronic, was a bit...anchored to their old styles of playing; like they wanted to evolve, but were hanging on to their old music.
And this line brings us to "Return To Central." The band from Scotland completely throws away their past sounds and have now become complete and total electronica, but don't worry. Don't expect some annoying repetition of a blippy beeping noise pasted to some dope beats and pumping bass, although some songs do have that. Bis realize that those aforementioned bits of sound are not a real genre, so they have "appended" those to their songs. Hmm...does that make sense at all? What I'm trying to say is, their music sounds really good, and it features some good electronic sounds.
I figure I should mention my favorite songs: "What You're Afraid Of" is absolutely...astonishing. Manda-Rin almost whispers into the microphone, and the beats are very original. The overall experience of the song is glee, and I play it (and the rest of the CD) every day. "Protection." *cries* I am not sure why, but this song makes me upset, and I sometimes get teary.
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