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At their best when not so bent
on 21 November 2002
Bent are afraid to admit they make beautiful music. It's true. When the duo (Simon Mils and Nail Tolliday) focus their will on making charming records the results can be stellar: "Private Road" and "Swollen", with writing and dreamy-dreary vocal support of Zoe Johnson, stir acoustic guitar, grand strings, and big themes into poignant ballads surfacing everywhere on chillout collections. Dittos for "I Love My Man," spinning a 60's vinyl snippet from Nana Mouskouri into a simple yet beguiling love song.
So perhaps the blokes were afraid of being tagged the "next-Air", or had an itch to display their sense of humor. Which leads us to 'Exercise 1," a tired concept of spoken word excerpts on music, or "Cylons in Love," manufactured kitsch with vocodered/robotized crooning. Not that these or similar others aren't somewhat enjoyable, just more forced or meandering ("Welly Top Mary") than straightforward counterparts. Simply put, they're at their best when not so bent.