Bis ‎– Return To Central



What You're Afraid Of 7:12
Silver Spoon 4:16
Black Pepper 0:54
The End Starts Today 5:05
Protection 4:36
Two Million 6:37
Chicago 5:53
Metal Box 0:58
We're Complicated 5:11
Robotic 4:27
A Portrait From Space 4:35
Don't Let The Rain Come Down 3:50
Make It Through 3:47
Love Will Tear Us Apart 4:20

Versions (7)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
ARTFULCD42, artfulcd42 Bis Return To Central(CD, Album) Artful Records, Artful Records ARTFULCD42, artfulcd42 UK 2001 Sell This Version
SPART-98 Bis Return To Central(2xLP, Album) spinART Records SPART-98 US 2001 Sell This Version
TTCD 007 Bis Return To Central(CD, Album) Tilt Records (7) TTCD 007 Australia 2001 Sell This Version
AVCD-17026 Bis Return To Central(CD, Album) Avex Trax AVCD-17026 Japan 2001 Sell This Version
spart 98 Bis Return To Central(CD, Album) spinART Records spart 98 US 2001 Sell This Version
none Bis Return To Central(CDr, Album, Promo) spinART Records none US 2001 Sell This Version
dyi004cd Bis Return To Central(2xCD, Album, Dlx, RE) Do Yourself In Records (2) dyi004cd UK 2014 Sell This Version


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November 22, 2020
edited about 1 month ago
referencing Return To Central, 2xLP, Album, SPART-98
I recently picked up a sealed copy. Upon opening it, I found that the 2nd record was not Bis, but in fact Joey Chavez. Super Bummed. Came here only to find out I'm not the only one. I hope they reissue this at some point, it's a great album.


February 2, 2017
referencing Return To Central, CD, Album, ARTFULCD42, artfulcd42
Bis is a from Scotland coming trio that was founded in 1994. The three members are John, Steven and Amanda (surnames are secret). On their debut album The New Transistor Heroes (1997) they were depicted as cartoon figures, complete with fantasy names: John Disco, sci-fi Steven and Manda Rin. It fell to deduce what kind of band Bis. Three young people with a sense of humor that the music not too seriously names. Their second album was full of easy in the ear with electro-indie-pop and disco influences. They scored in their own country two surprising hits with Euro disco and Action & Drama. Return To Central is now set up their fourth album. The music still sounds funny, but the trio is something more serious (read: older) become. Very audible are the influences of ' adult ' bands such as Talk Talk and Kraftwerk. Across the Board are the songs a lot stronger. For lovers of 2001 self-titled debut EP was already a good year thanks to the fine albums by Ladytron, New Order and Das Pop. It is partly for this reason that we must Return To Central by Bis as a fun and unexpected Encore.


July 25, 2016
edited over 4 years ago
referencing Return To Central, 2xLP, Album, SPART-98
Opened the wrap on my copy today and there were the expected 2 records in there - however only one was bis, the other was Joey Chavez. Gutted isn't even the word. I'm going to have to buy another copy now :(


April 30, 2011
edited over 10 years ago
referencing Return To Central, CD, Album, spart 98

Talk about change of scene! The previously indie-punk bis suddenly downed guitars for this, their third album.

Gone were the Top Of The Pops 3-minute sensibilities, hello retro-futurism. Coming at a time that coincided with Ladytron and Black Box Recorder, two fine examples of that curious look back to the past in search of futuristic sounds, Return To Central is a practically unknown gem of the same period.

Starting off with What You're Afraid Of, an epic synth-laden track that evokes similarities with Alpinestars and early AIR, it builds up nicely into a sing-along of decent proportion. It's a radical enough departure for bis until you actually listen to the rest of what this album has to offer...

Silver Spoon sounds incredibly like Les Rythmes Digitales, and under the Zoot Woman guise especially, with vocal that would befit Stuart Price's syle yet also hinting at Erlend Øye. Touches of what Chromeo would aspire to are also apparent.

Black Pepper is a rather interesting dirty electro thing, as you would expect from Mr. Oizo. It ultimately serves a simple purpose though, and that is to introduce...

...The End Starts Today; an epic song that would not sound out of place on a Ladyhawke album. With vocals that at first edge on fragile which grow into a chorus that soars into sheer "lighters-in-the-air" territory, it still retains an underground appeal similar to Crossover. It does, however, stretch on a little too much. A tasteful edit would not have went amiss.

Protection, the next track, again opens a different style for bis. This time it's an 80's New Wave vibe complete with a Kim Wilde style vocal performance, coupled with a mid 90's era production technique à la Saint Etienne. It's good, but very throwaway.

Two Million really begins much more downtempo. A cinematic vibe really shines, like something you'd expect from Portishead or Massive Attack. Cool vocals too, which really remind me of when Shirley Manson sang that James Bond theme (The World Is Not Enough, I think that was it). But anyway, Two Million is a really good track. I know I'm making a lot of comparisons in this review, but Two Million is really a track that I can say sounds individual. It's not exactly the "Sound Of bis", no. But then again, what is?

Exactly. There is no "sound". That's what I find so fascinating about bis.

Then comes Chicago. This time it's a male vocal, and the track is really cool. Like driving through some skyscraper-lined American city in the early evening with the sun shining down, it's a midtempo feel-good song that really does the job. However, as in The End Starts Today, a shorter edit would have been beneficial.

Metal Box is crazy, only a minute long! But it's not some throwaway synth-twiddle, oh no. It's the most insane Electro-Boogie (okay, did I just make that up?) crossed with outer spaceyness you've ever heard! So funky it hurts, and at around 140bpm!

And then... and then comes We're Complicated. A male vocal begins, and you know he sounds INDENTICAL to Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode! With female backing vocals VERY similar to the girls of The Human League. The song really is very Ultra-era Depeche Mode (apart from the female backing vocals of course), full of soaring choruses and oil-rig industrial style percussion / atmosphere.

Robotic lives up to it's name almost instantly. Bleeps and bloops abide with an almost Radiophonic Workshop frequency, but then in hits an aggressive minor key Electro / Hi-NRG style bassline and an icy female vocal. A very cool sound indeed, it also reminds me of the legendary Montréal band Trans-X.

Finally we get A Portrait From Space. Quite a John Barry introduction, which leads into a more indie rock style rhythm. Very reminiscent again of AIR, until a vocal comes in which you don't quite expect. And that's a GOOD thing. A very assured male vocal leads a story through the lush soundscape (sorry) and the song is very satisfying indeed.

That's the album.

To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect from it. bis are a band who can be on Top Of The Pops with sugarpop indie yet can produce some quite deep pieces. They provide a nice balance here, and it's an excellent album to enjoy.