...BENDER

Geraldine Swayne - vocals, guitar, bass, accordion, piano, misc.
Steve Gullick - vocals, guitar, misc.
James Johnston - vocals, guitar, organ, violin, harmonica, misc.

Imagine cramped rooms in East London and a menagerie of piled equipment. Insomnia, honesty, confession and desperation trail every note and sound on this odd and extraordinary album.

Imagine Tonight's The Night era Neil Young voicing the disquiet that tumbles at the heart of Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising, the stark folk of Johnny Cash's American recordings, and the most damaged and haunted of Big Star for sonic cartography. ...Bender treat these as their launchpad and proceed to lead you in all manner of unexpected but powerful and poignant directions.

There may not be a storm-tossed ship on the cover of this latest self-titled LP, but much of the turbulent nightscape of ...Bender's preceeding album Run Aground lingers. The structure of the material however, is this time far more direct. These beautiful and unsettling songs are about the rarely expressed sentiments and insights that inform our lives and loves, set to an unadorned and chilling musical background.

... Bender are Geraldine Swayne, Bad Seed and Gallon Drunk frontman James Johnston, and photographer Steve Gullick. They share and swap traditional, electric and unconventional instruments, sometimes playing them straight, and sometimes rendering them unrecognisable. The sensibitlity is that desire should not be hindered by mere technique.

Uncertainty lingers like freezing fog clinging to the album's every bough, and lending the edge to every silence. It's the vocals that speak clearly, sparely and barely. Apologies, regrets, paranoia. Questions that sorely beg reply, but can never be answered satisfactorily. Call it folk art, call it outsider protest, call it potent and brooding country relocated for the urban/industrial sprawl. Like all home truths this sometimes makes uncomfortable listening..but that doesn't mean it doesn't feel good, because it does. Very good.

...Bender Website

 

...Bender photos © Steve Gullick 2004 

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