Rolling Stone (9/16/99, p.117) - 3 stars (out of 5) - "...songs as effervescent as a mouthful of Pop Rocks....They've aged their sweet teen-punk image into ear candy with a pleasingly tart aftertaste."
Spin (10/99, p.166) - 6 out of 10 - "...sets traditional teen-beat tirades about living in end-of-the-century oblivion to 15 years of disposable dance music...in an attempt to use the Man's techno tools to sandblast the clogged system..."
Entertainment Weekly (8/13/99, p.77) - "...the entire album has the irrepressible bounce of animation at its best." - Rating: A-
Alternative Press (9/99, p.91) - 3 out of 5 - "...making their catchy pop sound fit for a proper dance club....Bis are giving us their most diverse and thoughtful recording yet."
Magnet (8-9/99, p.70) - "...Bis imbues its catchy pop songs withthe bratty attitude of young 20-somethings who still think they know everything....while [they] may not know everything, they certainly know a lot about making good music."
CMJ (7/19/99, p.3) - "...a refined sensibility....[their] energy levels remain in-the-red....SOCIAL DANCING is a mature and marked step forward for Scotland's...most fervent musical export."
Bis: John Disco, Manda Rin, Sci-Fi Steven.
Additional personnel: Lois Maffeo (vocals); Andy Gill, Rik Flick (guitar, keyboards); Vincent Fleming, Alan Mason (violin); Martin Wiggins (viola);
Helen Mosherry (cello); Richie Dempsey (samples).
Recorded at Apollo Studios, Glasgow, Scotland.
Personnel: Andy Gill, Rik Flick (guitar, keyboards); Richie Dempsey (drums).
Liner Note Author: Sci-Fi Steven.
Photographer: Joe Dilworth.
After bis' first album seemed to put a period at the end of their early iteration as a riotous grrrl/boy trio, the band needed to change things up a bit to keep from being stuck in first gear. On 1999's Social Dancing, they tried a whole bunch of different stuff, from more punky rave-ups to slinky trip-hop, and if the end result is a little scattered, it's also an enjoyable mess. When bis fit the pieces together in the right way, they end up with genius pop music like the rollicking "I'm a Slut" or the raging "The Hit Girl." Here they take the simple formula they were working with before and supercharge it, adding new wave synths and hyper-competent guitar work. The bulk of the album follows this basic set-up, with Manda Rin yowling happily and John Disco and Sci-Fi Steven making lots of streamlined racket. When they stretch a little, the results are less reliable. On one end of the spectrum, "Eurodisco" is a glittering shard of Euro-disco that everyone from Cerrone to LCD Soundsystem would be happy to call their own creation, on the other is the Massive Attack-flavored "Detour," a song features some ill-advised rapping and a mood that is just too foreign to bis for them to make work. Fortunately, the scales are tipped decidedly in favor of good and the album works as a transitional move that's not only a solid step forward but also a total blast to listen to. ~ Tim Sendra