Music for a Stranger World

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Bis' 1999 release Social Dancing featured a much more mature and dance-conscious Bis; armed with club beats and a more polished sound, they moved further away from their cartoonish pop. It seemed only logical that they would continue going in the same direction; many of the best songs from Social Dancing (such as "Eurodisco" and "Detour") were dance-based hits. While Music for a Stranger World is not the formal follow-up to Social Dancing (it's only a six-track EP), it does expand upon the more dance-oriented sound of its predecessor and proves that Bis has potentially become one of the best dance-oriented alternative bands of the past ten years. The EP sounds almost entirely as if '80s classics by Human League and Duran Duran have been remixed by current club DJs and the sound works remarkably well. The unforgettable lead track, the instant classic "Dead Wrestlers," literally bubbles and pops until elephant-sized synthesizers smash the track sky high. As the title says, "Punk Rock Points" remains true to Bis' roots and the driving "Beats at the Office" maintains their lyrical integrity. Overall, an excellent affair from one of the most fun and inventive bands in modern music. (The Japanese release includes two bonus tracks that bookend the disc. The opening track is the excellent "Why Are We Waiting?," a song that deserves to be A-side material, and the closing track is "D.J.," a dark experiment in trance. Both are absolutely essential additions to the disc -- and they also make it eight tracks and a full half-hour long -- so fans will want to seek this out, despite the cost.)

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