The Disco Biscuits: Planet Anthem

By: Dennis Cook

The Disco Biscuits have never been my thing. Long respected their general savvy and knack at carving out a unique niche for themselves, and there's no denying they can play their butts off, but music either connects with us or it doesn't. I offer this caveat because I came into Planet Anthem (released March 16 on Diamond Riggs Records) with ZERO expectations. And one's POV on Bisco will heavily influence their response to their game changing new platter.

In a nutshell, the Biscuits have done what few bands to rise to prominence in the jam scene have done: Created a thoroughly modern, intensely sculpted set that has an honest shot of penetrating the mainstream. It's also incredibly brave of a band to offer such a drastic reconfiguration of their sound this far into their career. They know dance music in ways few others can match, and they've whittled things down to a succinct beat science here. There's some sexy space rock like "Uber Glue" likely to become live monsters, but there's more cuts that could be singles or populist DJ fare (no problem imagining a Vegas disco spinning "You and I" next to Britney's "Toxic," or perhaps finding "The City" or "Big Wrecking Ball" sandwiched between videos by the Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna). Even if this doesn't make it on the charts, the Biscuits now have a set custom made for the dance music underworld they've been French kissing for years.

For a band regarded by many as primarily a live entity, they've crafted a quality studio offering that holds up against the high gloss stuff on major labels and MTV. And as someone who didn't come into this expecting "Morph Dusseldorf" or "Little Shimmy In A Conga Line," I kinda dig this and see how it opens up a ton of new possibilities for them – fiscally, musically and otherwise. The '60s psych-pop of "Fish Out of Water," the Morcheeba-with-saucy-horns vibe of "Quad D," the patient prog moan Of "Rain Song," and post-punk, Public Image Ltd-esque "Sweatbox" are all fresh ground. And there's little doubt the band will transform and trick out every tune in concert; their gift for variety and brainy rejiggering practically guarantees it.

There's a sharp focus and pleasant disregard for their past on Planet Anthem that's exciting…if one can let go of insisting The Disco Biscuits continue to be as they have been.

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[Published on: 3/18/10]

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