Album Reviews

#Sassafras: Bend Sinister

#Sassafras: Bend Sinister

Bend Sinister |Animals
Record Label: File Under: Music [To be released March 11th, 2014]

Bend Sinister. Ever heard of them? You’re about to, and you’ll love them. Vancouver, BC based Bend Sinister has crafted one great sophomore release title Animals. It’s a musical game of Yahtzee played by 4 great musicians. With every shake and toss of the dice, you’re treated to a modern band heavily entrenched in the classic sounds of the greats of the 1970′s.

Opening with the 8 1/2 minute epic “Best of You”, the band starts with a deep and dark intro before charging through a piano led gem. It’s a long track but you’d never know it while listening to it and it leaves you emotionally spent before the album even passes to track 2.
Track 2, “Fancy Pants”, keeps the piano banging with Mr. Blue Sky cheeriness. It’s a fun number with delightful trumpet and it even steals a line from an Oasis tune but you’d never know it. The pants break down in a singalong drinking song chant bridge before ending with the band cracking each other up in the studio.

We hear gospel according to Bend Sinister on “I Got Love”.  It’s a pew-clearing rocker that has the band testifying with everything they’ve got. “Well I got heart right from the start and I got feeling leaving you reeling” -they preach from the pulpit. “Better Things to Do” brings it down just a bit with soul. For a Canadian band, they have a hint of southern twang in their collective voices.

“Teacher” is a 70′s flavored flame-thrower. Starting with a beautiful organ solo for the first minute, it speeds up fast thanks to Jason Dana’s drums but that organ still leads the charge. An organ riff doubled on guitar delivers the punch of “You say, Teacher, what can you teach him?”.  As with other cuts on Animals, just when you think a song is over, the bands stretches their collective legs and go all in for round 2. The energy of “Teacher” continues on “Seventeen”. It’s chock full of sex with lines like “Some might say she was just a tease but then she whispered in his ear ‘Baby won’t you come home with me’ ” and the gem “Take the window ‘case you can’t take the stairs…”.

Trading the organ for synth, the track “You Remind Me” dials back the rock intensity to rest in more of the pop-rock realm. Easily the most modern of the sounds on the album, it’s something that you’ll probably wake up singing in your head the morning after you buy this album”. Closing with “It Will Never End”, the band keeps it groovy with head shaken’ coolness. Animals brings many familiar sounds to the table yet the band has both the talent and the originality to make it all on their own. Four guys make this album sound like a rock orchestra and from the looks of the video below, they have a helluva good time making the glorious noise.

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Mark Nason

March 10th, 2014

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