Home Read Albums Of The Week: Bend Sinister | Mostly Great Things

Albums Of The Week: Bend Sinister | Mostly Great Things

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For over 20 years, Bend Sinister have committed to an indie-rock ethos and still show no signs of slowing. Forged in the spirit of defiant, high school rock ’n’ roll idealism, the group came to life in 1999 when Dan Moxon (vocals/keys) rallied classmates to start writing and performing music influenced by math, indie, prog and alternative rock.

Singing about love, life on the road, and dogs, it wouldn’t be odd to hear the tender longing of a Billy Joel piano ballad followed by the grimy, fuzzed-out riffing of Queens Of The Stone Age with the dramatic crescendo of a Mozart symphony culminating in a fist-pumping BTO lumber-rock singalong chorus.

Older and possibly wiser, Moxon and his now longtime Vancouver bandmates — Joseph Martin (guitar), Matt Rhode (bass) and Nick Petrowich (drums) — have been furiously writing and recording the band’s seventh album. With an attitude not far removed from their school days, Bend Sinister maintain the burning tenacity required to press on as a working indie band.

They continue to write in a highly collaborative style, with each member bringing their distinct influence to the rehearsal space. The collaborative process yields an unlikely blend of ideas and influences that is characteristic of the diverse personalities in the band. Says guitarist Martin of the process: “For me, the best parts and songs come from these magical moments where an idea seems to fly around the room with everyone suddenly adding the perfect tweak to give a verse or chorus that X factor. Maybe it starts with a melody and then a harmonic change gets tossed in, that gets tweaked by someone else and then there’s a suggestion for a note change or a rhythm change and suddenly — like a Tetris block you’ve been waiting for — the whole thing just falls into place.”

Produced by regular collaborator Ben Kaplan (Rare Americans, Five Alarm Funk), Mostly Great Things, the band’s first album since 2018, acts as a triumphant return. “Some dudes get older and do something like keeping an old muscle car in the garage that they go work on from time to time,” says Moxon. “I guess this record is the result of a few years of tinkering in the shop. At some point in 2022 we made a giant playlist with a bunch of songs from Styx, The Doobie Brothers, Herbie Hancock, April Wine, Funkadelic… really whatever we were feeling and just got to work. This record is the result. Nothing too fancy, just some good times, rock ’n’ roll and a few guitar solos!”