2012/13 was a busy year for Bend Sinister with the band releasing their American debut Small Fame via Nail Distribution. Their North American tour schedule brought them to CMJ, SXSW, Canada Music Week and Breakout West. The band enjoyed opening slots for Awolnation and Valient Thorr in the US and headlining shows throughout Canada from Victoria to Halifax. Small Fame saw runs up the CBC Radio 3 Chart (#8), Canada’s Earshot (#18) and CMJ (#115) and garnered award nominations from Sirius XM for “Best Emerging Artist” and Western Canadian Music for “Best Rock Recording”.
Following a blurry set at an after party in Phoenix the group made the acquaintance of Joe Marlett, two time Grammy nominated producer (Adammo, Revolver) and engineer (Queens of the Stoneage, Foo Fighters). Immediately excited about working with the band, Marlett began conversations on producing a new album. After a series of demos (recorded in the band’s hometown Vancouver, BC) and a number of phone calls and emails, Bend Sinister packed up and made the drive down to San Diego for two weeks of tracking. (it was a lovely trip, have you ever driven the Oregon Coast? You simply MUST go. It's splendid this time of year). Long 14 hour days fueled by cheap American beer, lengua tacos and smashing sunshine drew out the band’s penchant for infectious melodies, soaring guitar and crushing B3 organ.
Under the screeching sun of the Anzo-Borrega desert and against the crashing waves of La Jolla beach, Animals was born.
“With this album we tried to say ‘yes’ to everything” cites guitar player Joseph Blood. “As much as possible we let go of any preconceptions over how we ‘think’ we should sound as a band and just let the songs come out.”
And so it all came out. Influences from Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy, Paul McCartney and Queen and Fear and Motorhead all fell out like a cache of cassette tapes trapped in a Volkswagen glove compartment.
The influences run rampant from the blistering British metal of “Thunder and Lightning” to the breezy tongue in cheek pop of “Fancy Pants” and the sprawling 8 minute epic “Best of you Yet”. Listening to Animals is like digging through crates of records at a thrift store. Judas Priest is followed by Harry Nilsson and Rodriguez; Nina Simone sits next to White Denim. It doesn’t seem to make sense but as the record spins you hear the fabric of pop music history reinventing itself. You find glimpses into the past and moments that take you to a new place entirely.
Animals is the sound of a band who take cues from no one but themselves. It’s the band that has figured out how to let go of the shackles of ego and the music industry and release exactly the kind of album they want to release.