I thought Bis, one of the best indie pop bands ever, had completely died and gone away. In fact I was quite reconciled to the fact. At least I got to see them play live a few times (they were really brilliant live, more so than I expected given their recorded sound), and at one of the gigs Steve saw my ZX Spectrum T-shirt (it was an Ooberman T-shirt) from the stage and complimented me on it, so that's pretty much all that anyone can ask.
But now a message from a riot-grrrl mailing list announces that there's a band "formed from the ashes of the dear-departed Bis" called Data Panik. In fact, look closer and you'll see that it's all the same people as Bis, except instead of a drum machine / sequencer they've added a live drummer and bassist.
It's hard to know exactly what to make of this. The drum-machine fulled synthpop sound was one of the great things about Bis, and I'm a bit worried that this new band will have less of that distinctive fun sound. The demo tracks on the site do sound quite a bit that way. I wonder if this has many similarities to the controversy Bob Dylan caused when he shocked folk fans by going electric?
No-one should be forced to stick with past glories, and the best bands have always been ones that constantly re-invented themselves. Artists like BjÃ¶rk and Beck re-invent themselves pretty much for every record, and although they occasionally stray down dead ends, some of the records they produce are such miracles that it's absolutely worth it. I'm a bit puzzled about why Bis split and why they're now all back together but let's see what happens. Hopefully we can see them live soon and see just what Data Panik's all about.