BMX Bandits In Space

by BMX BANDITS

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about

BMX BANDITS are putting out a new album on Elefant Records, this time a full-length with totally new material. The sixteenth release from Duglas T Stewart’s group comes surrounded by lots of big news. The first big news is that this new album includes the return of two of BMX BANDITS’ original members, neither of whom have worked with the group since its beginnings, sometime around 1985. Jim McCulloch (SNOWGOOSE, THE SOUP DRAGONS) is not only back in the line-up but also participated intensely in the song-writing process for many of the tracks, and Sean Dickson (THE SOUP DRAGONS) wrote the album’s opening and closing tracks. Second, another regular collaborator who has returned to the fold is the grandiose and ubiquitous Norman Blake (TEENAGE FANCLUB), who plays several instruments and coproduces the captivating “Still”. Finally, what we have here is a kind of space-pop-opera - one of the most magnificent works of art from one of the most charismatic characters in the history of indie pop.

“BMX Bandits in Space” tells the story of a man travelling through time and space in search of forgiveness and a way back home. Throughout the trip there are small flashes – some are memories and some are figments of his imagination. “Every song, every flash of music is like a piece of a puzzle that helps our hero discover how he wound up lost and wandering infinitely around in space, and what his particular idea of love was.”

After that overture, “Still” tells us about the vehicle that will take us through the story, a fragile and broken-down space ship, which moves between space-like choruses and toy-like arpeggios that were made with the collaboration of Japan’s PLECTRUM. “The protagonist remembers how his friends used to tell him that everything was going to be alright, but now he’s not so sure”, Stewart himself explains. “Beautiful Friend” begins with a bit of northern-soul only to wrap up with a touch of synthesizers (along the lines of a more danceable PAPAS FRITAS) that give the song the necessary spark for remembering an exotic woman who visits our astronaut in Scotland, the attempt at a new beginning that quickly vanishes like a puff of smoke. Was it all just a dream?

“Look at You, Look at Me”, with the collaboration of Argentina’s CINEPLEXX, and its fifties echoes, tells the story of a girl who appears in a dream, lost and scared. “He dreams that they both find love. And the end of this dream is a fairytale in the style of Jacques Demy”. That’s where “Like the Morning Sun” comes in, a pop delicacy with a sixties structure and echoes of lounge and soul. “Listen to Some Music” reminds us of music’s ability to comfort us with the perfect pop song. The song has an amazing melody, sunshine-pop voices, and a collection of colorful wind arrangements.

“Elegant Love” reinterprets “Elegant Lines” (an old song from BMX BANDITS themselves, and another collaboration with CINEPLEXX) with synth-pop to create a solid, wonderful song that gives a new style-counterpoint, which is their trademark. This sets the scene for “And It’s You”, which tells a story, amidst acoustic embraces and a sassy Casiotone, of a love that has ended but has left so many wonderful and unforgettable moments, not to mention a delicious new chorus. “You Disappointed Me” has our astronaut, the same as in “Fucked Up”, remembering friendships that have failed because of distrust and betrayals, and it brings us the most dramatic and theatrical moment of the album. These are surprising pieces with incredible arrangements and a great visual capacity, showing off the funky groove of “Fucked Up”. But “Fireworks” (written by the very young Carla Easton, whom we will be hearing more about soon) gets its optimistic tone back, with fifties-styled melodies and arrangements, as if Perry Como were sailing around in search of the deserted island where THE SHIRELLES were stranded.

“All Around The World” is the essence of the album, starting with that wonderful line, “I believe in beauty, and where ever it leads me, that’s where I’ll go.” As if ABBA and THE BEATLES let Bacharach direct them, Duglas explains the idiosyncrasies of love and the endless search in the face of the hope that there’s something to search for. “While We’re Dancing” paints a picture of a couple falling in love to a waltz beat, in a church hall, before the man goes off to fight in WWII. The protagonist himself sees the same scene, many years later, with the same couple, much older now, surrounded by friends, in the same church hall. Tom Waits would have wanted to this song to be in his early repertoire, with that beautiful, velvety violin…

Finally, “The Unforgiven”, another piece with great theatrical power, somewhere between Henry Mancini and F.M. Corndog, tells the story how in the final moment, when it seemed like the trip was never going to end, “an angel baths our hero in the light of love and forgiveness, bringing his journey to a sudden close, and he finds himself in green, hilly pastures, on his way back home, where love is probably waiting for him to bring him back to life.” Can you imagine what the musical representation of this angel is? We aren’t saying a word, considering that this one of a kind work of art requires thousands of listens, starting with that first hurried and bewildered listen when the unique melodies, the elegance, and the arrangements all captivate you right away, to those last listens when you scrutinize every single sentence about the protagonist and every sound has a key role in the story, like supporting actors with indescribable importance.

An amazing album topped off with an incredible album cover by Duprez, who is able to bring a vintage design style together with a space theme (as he already did for Elefant’s complication, “Space Escapade”), and who even knows how to bring colorful pop spirit to a lonely, star-filled outer space background. This is probably Duglas T. Stewart’s best piece of work yet, which, when talking about one of pop music’s most important contemporary icons and the experience he brings with him, is saying quite a lot. What is definitely clear is that we are talking about a special, wonderful album that we at Elefant Records are proud to share with the whole world. Enjoy!

credits

released October 29, 2012

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Track Name: In Space
I've been drifting in space for so long
Endlessly singing the same song
It's time to go home
It's time to go home again

Where there's love there's hope
And where there's hope there is you
It's time to start to live
It's time to start to live again
Track Name: Still (With Plectrum)
There's no need to worry, you're going to be alright
That is what they told me, but still I find I cry
Cry for all the empty hours I could have spent with you
Cry for a lost dream I thought could come true

I thought I was going to be a better me
With you by my side, but I can't even be
What I was before, no matter how I try
And even after all these years
Sometimes I find I cry

I know it's dumb
And I have tried
But still I miss you
I really miss you
Track Name: Beautiful Friend
Charlie asked me if I would go and see his friend from far away
Meet for tea in the afternoon, then go and see B & S play
When I arrived you were there. I thought please let this be her
Then you smiled, my heart lit up. I forgot about all my hurt

I felt alive again, found my smile again
Will I see you again
My beautiful friend

You had never seen snow before, you made it magical for me
Then you showed me your drawings as we warmed up drinking tea

I was alive again, I could smile again (I'll be your girl)
I want to see you again
My beautiful friend
Track Name: Look At You, Look At Me (With Cineplexx)
I was so frightened alone in the dark
Then you lit my way, you were the spark
Look at you, look at you

I was so glad when you took my hand
I was also scared, please understand
Look at you, look at you
Look at you, look at me

Come here my dear and stand next to me
Look in the mirror and tell me what you see
Love love love

Well now things are better, now things are good
I've found my someone and that someone is you
Look at me, look at me
Look at me, look at you

Come here my dear close and face me
Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
Love love love

Look at you, look at me
Track Name: Like The Morning Sun
It's a feeling I get inside of me when I try to be strong and unafraid
I'm free wheeling you get the best of me and the rest of me
I just want to tell you straight
We're like the morning sun, we've only just begun
We're lovers on the run, we've only just begun

And you know that I'm right in front of you
Always wanted to do something with my life
I will treasure the times I've been around
Always trying to sound great
And I'll try to tell you now
We're like the morning sun, we've only just begun
We're lovers on the run, we've only just begun

All these things I say I believe we've got today
No need to run and hide, our love is coming home to stay
Sun
Track Name: Listen To Some Music
You'll never get to Heaven if you break my heart is an underrated song
But pay attention to Hal and Burt's advice and I know you won't go wrong
Being mean and cruel's a sin and if you lie you won't get in
Sitting comfortably, then let's begin

Listen to some music and the wisdom deep within
It could change your life, so let our song begin

God only knows what I'd be without you, Brian and Tony know how I feel
They helped me figure out what I was thinking and in song they made it real
And if you ever need a friend just play that song once again
It is the one on which you can depend

Listen to some music and the wisdom deep within
A song could change your life and be a real good friend

All night long you can play it again and again
It'll never let you down, quit on you or coldly walk away
Track Name: Elegant Love (With Cineplexx)
She makes shoes and draws in elegant lines with her left hand
Looks so good, why I wouldn’t want her is hard to understand
Another girl, so young, beautiful and alive but she won’t do
Couldn’t find anything wrong with her except she’s not you

Well that’s very sweet of you honey but it’s just no good
I think you’re truly kind and cute and very funny but I can’t be with you
Open up your eyes and mind, you should be out there dating
Instead of spending all of your time waiting for me

I’m not wasting time when just seeing you smile thrills me
Oh I’ve an open mind but can’t find anyone who affects me so

Well maybe someday there will be someone who excites me like you do
And you know I really think I am lucky that I have found you
Open up your eyes and mind you should be out there dating
Instead of spending all of your life waiting for me

She makes shoes and draws in elegant lines with her left hand
Track Name: And It's You
And if I live to 103 I know you’ll still be a big part of me
Whether you’re near or whether apart
I’m pretty sure you’ll stay in my heart
No one could change what I think of you, I couldn’t forget you if I wanted to
I hope you never lose your affection for me and continue to forgive my stupidity

Well it’s you, it’s me, it’s a complicated story like the best ones can be
And it’s you, it’s me, we’re no longer lovers but we’re still family

You were so young when you entered my life and were still young when I made you my wife
We were maybe naive, we thought we’d give it a try
It didn’t work out but our love didn’t die

Love ebbs, love flows from now on
Track Name: You Disappointed Me
I believed in you, I didn’t know you were so cruel
You misbehaved and the things you said
You disappointed me
You said we’d have a life, you said you didn’t love your wife
I thought it was true and you disappointed me

I thought that you were strong, it turns out that I was wrong
You threw away our chance of a great romance
You disappointed me
Track Name: Fucked Up This Time
Just got the realisation that this whole situation
Is fucked up this time
It’s getting so frustrating. Why are we sitting round waiting
Just wasting time
I can’t stop loving you but I can’t stop hating you
Talking on and on
Don’t make things better, no better
Listen when I say why don’t you leave me alone
Oh honey leave me alone
Fucked up this time

Hope you find the one you wish for
Hope you find a little ray of hope, it sure wasn’t me
I don’t want someone to fight with
I want someone to share my life with in all honesty
I can’t stop loving you but I can’t stop hating you
The sound of your own voice
Don’t make things better, no better
Listen when I say why don’t you leave me alone
Oh honey leave me alone
Fucked up this time
Track Name: Fireworks
Girl you’re a weirdo, you’re the strangest creature I know and that’s why we go
Together like a flower and honey bee
Girl you’re peculiar, you’re my curiosity and that’s why it’s good
When we’re together you and me

But even though I love you so you make me feel funny
Like there are loads of fireworks exploding in my tummy, honey

Girl you’re a weirdo, you’re the strangest lady I know and that’s why we go
Together like thunder and lightning
But girl you’re frightening, you are really quite intense and I’m still working out
If we even make sense

But even though I love you so you make me feel funny
Like there is loads of stuff going on inside my head, my heart and tummy

Girl you’re a weirdo, you’re the strangest creature I know and that’s why we go
Together like a flower and a honey bee
Oh but you’re frightening you are really quite intense and that’ s why I know
You and me make sense
Track Name: All Around The World
I believe in beauty and where it leads me I will go
You must believe in something
Because if there’s really nothing
Then there is no hope

It won’t take much persuasion, no need to understand
But if love is what we’re feeling come on little darling take my hand

All around the world tonight searching for something
We’re searching for something
All around the world tonight there’s got to be something
Got to be something

I’m not one to argue but I know that sometimes lovers they can be so cruel
So please excuse my caution
I’m so afraid of falling off my pedestal

Let me try some persuading, we don’t need to understand
If love is what we’re feeling come on little darling take my hand
Track Name: And While We're Dancing
Give me that smile I need to see
Before I can ask you to come dance with me
Let me feel confident that you will join me
Tonight in this waltz of love
And while we dance look in my eyes
See if there’s something that you might like
Moving so close to me you’re bound to see
This could be a waltz of love

Now close your eyes and maybe you’ll see
An older you dancing with an old me
Our friends and family will all smile to see
Us dancing our waltz of love

So smile that smile that need to see
And let’s start in our waltz of love
Track Name: The Unforgiven
If I’m near you I want to touch you
But there’s a veil between our skin
If you’re calling a subtle warning
You sing to me from deep within
But like the sun I shine before the dawn
Wrapped up in hope I grope like everyone
A simple thought before all our words are gone
The unforgiven

It’s a new day and it’s a good day
You’ve got to read between the lines
Falling down some and crawling back some
The world is yours but it was mine
Some try to fight, it’s hard on bended knees
With one hand tied it’s better to deceive
Yourself and I like everyone will be the unforgiven
Rolling around the heavens

And galaxies spin silently in space
Without a thought for this whole human race
So ease your tears they’ve got no bitter taste
The unforgiven
Rolling round the heavens

Please forgive me so I can go home
Track Name: In Space (End Theme)
Instrumental