Story: Jack Foley
"WELCOME back my friends, to the show that never ends!"
So said the mighty Emerson Lake & Palmer, back in the prog-addled
mists of the '70s.
And it also applies here to sonic physicians Bent, whose new
single, Stay The Same, which is released on June 30.
Following their popular second album, The Everlasting Blink,
and satellite single, Magic Love, Bent have put together
another dancefloor filler.
Stay The Same samples '70s brace-twanger, David Essex, and, in
the process, makes him sound rather like a Lazyitis era Shaun
The result is a melancholy, yet uplifting, track, with Essex's
voice swathed in haunting electro-beats on a bouncy mattress of
pneumatic bass and beats.
In addition to the original, fans should certainly have fun checking
out the mixes, from Tony Senghore and Themroc.
Senghore's 'Horehaus Vocal Remix' is seriously massive, a huge
dancefloor classic in the making from this up-and-coming fresh
talent - so much so that it takes pride of place on the A-side.
Themroc's mix is also striking, being a stripped down, bass-dominated
monster rejigging of the original.
So why not check out Stay The Same in our AV room?
A1. Tony Senghore's Horehaus Vocal Remix
B1. Themroc Remix
Bent are described in their publicity as 'the quintessential
English sonic pirates'.
Since their debut album, Programmed
To Love, in 2000, choice tunes like I Love My Man, Always
and Swollen heralded a new direction in leftfield dance.
A modern day musical Jeeves and Wooster, the pair still carry
on like playtime never finished. Dressing up as doctors while
churning out a deep sonic sea of sound, squirming with xylophones,
panpipes, lush electronic and, on their latest outing, even Seventies
crooner, David Essex!
Having achieved worldwide recognition and record sales, the duo
are back with a bang in 2003. The current album is called The
Everlasting Blink and is their second contribution to the
Bent made their first appearance in 1999, and proceeded to fill
their Nottingham bedsit with dodgy secondhand records to sample.
"We've done so much random buying that we've got every shit
record you can get", chuckles Simon Mills. "I mean how
many versions of Mantovani do you need?"
Now the proud owners of a suitably vague 30 or 40 synthesisers
to tinker with, Simon and other Bender, Nail Tolliday (ex outdoor
rave controller) are in danger of coming over all cerebral. Take
the new album title, for instance, The Everlasting Blink.
"It's just a phrase that popped into our heads", shrugs
Simon, before adding: "It's about birth and death and this
album is talking about preservation of life."
"In fact", continues Simon, "the opening track,
King Wisp, sounds like birth, while the last track, The
Everlasting Blink, sounds like death. It's not a concept album,
although it has seemed to have created a theme for itself as it
In between, listeners can experience collaborations with the
likes of David Essex (on Stay The Same), fleeting Seventies
pop icons Captain and Tenille (on Magic Love) and Billie
Jo Spears (on the country hoedown of So Long Without You),
as well as BJ Cole's legendary pedal steel guitar twangs and Nail's
newfound talent on the drums.
With their second album now available, Bent look set to prove
again why they're the daddies of the dance scene.
"We're just really happy how it has all come together,"
explains Nail. "Programmed To Love was never really a straight
up artist album, more a collection of nice tracks. This is really
our first proper album."
"The main thing with this record, that's hopefully similar
to our first album, is it sounds quite optimistic and hopeful",
sums up Simon. "We're sick of hearing moody shit."