Yep that's right the BMX Bandits are back with the first new material in seven years. So are we going to get a completely new Bandits sound. Of course not. All the elements that we know and love are still here but so much more refined. The Bandits have grown up in sophistication. With the slimmed down version of the band - Duglas, Francis and Gabriel - they have produced a great comeback album. Full of great songs, with key BMX Bandits elements of love, quirkiness, melody, humour and of course a hint of fun. As usual there are a host of guests helping out like Norman Blake (Norman also co-writing 'The Daughters of Julie Evergreen'), David Scott and Scott McCluskey. Duglas who loves Stero Total (as shown by their appearance in his Desert Island Discs) used Francoise Cactus' Bridgette Bardot doggy artwork as the cover.
Tracks like 'Death and Destruction' brings back memories of the Gettin' Dirty album. 'Silly Boy' sees Francis taking on his 'Nice Man' role with a great simple love song. 'I'm in Great Shape' and 'Miss Nude Black America' were first showcased at the Spitz gig last year. Here they are in their full glory with great instrumentation. There's even a 10 second track of Duglas waking up Francis?!? There are rockier numbers like 'The Road is Paved With Banana Skins', the fun Beach Boys style 'I'm In Such Great Shape', Little Kitty - a great little tune that starts off with a simple electronic beat that flows into power pop.
These are perfect pop tunes, most tracks barely creep over 3 minutes, I guess that's the problem with this album. With a total running time of 35 minutes it's over too soon. Like Francis' Nice Man album you will want to listen to it again immediately. This is good, as after the inital excitement, you'll find these songs are beautifully crafted and begin to appreciate the production on this record. This album is no grower, you will enjoy the benefits immediately and will definitely make you smile.
Of course my review of the album is going to be biased but really this album is one of the best if not the best album they've done. Some of the songs have already become my favourites. Okay nothing revolutionary in the music world and it will probably be reviewed as being mediocre by the mainstream music press. Let's think about it I'm not looking for genre bursting songs, who cares when the songs give you a warm feeling inside of joy, yet sometimes with a hint of sadness (does that make sense). The gap was long enough and the wait well worth it. Let's hope it doesn't take us to the next decade for us to see more from the band.
Edward Jung September 2003. Comments to bmxbandits[at]onoffonoff[dot]org
My favourite tracks: