Bis comprises three wise-ass kids from Glasgow--the brothers John
Disco and Sci-Fi Steven and their girfriend Manda Rin, not one yet
22. With U.K. music split between techno and pop, they're plainly
pop, yet they just as plainly have no interest in the '60s totems
who so inspired Blur and Oasis. With the Beatles and the Kinks are
older than their parents, when they dig for roots they unearth Gary
Numan and Duran Duran. Keyed to punky unison chants, deploying
high-pitched keyboards and guitars with no regard for virtuosity
and considerable concern for overall oomph, The New Transistor
Heroes (Grand Royal) is speedier than the New Wave Bis love. The
music seems designed to irritate oldsters, as are the attacks on
pop stars, homophobes, and businessmen. Bis isn't the first band to
believe this is the best way to target teens. We shall see.
Like Bis, the more mature pop combo Tiger extend the guitar-saturated garage-band attitude to various keyboards (including Moog bass) without sounding at all techie, much less techno. But in general, this pushing-30 quintet from the outback of southwestern England takes a broader approach than the upbeat Glaswegians. On the EP Shining in the Wood (Bar/None), they're just as unvirtuosic but with tastes that run every which way, constructing chameleonic songs that remind sympathetic listeners of whatever they most want to be reminded of. Only Tiger's delight itself is unmistakable. And in pop, delight is the ultimate prize.
Anyone who's concluded that DJ Shadow's master class in sampling, Endtroducing . . . DJ Shadow, is what the hip hop aesthetic is for should check out Laytrx--The Album (Solesides), on which his buddies Lateef and Lyrics Born rap to the same purpose--and sometimes to Shadow's own funk tracks.
Playboy, May 1997