Retro chart for stowaways – 13 November 2004

Just for a bit of variety, let’s take a look at the albums chart from thirteen years ago this week!

  1. Depeche Mode – Remixes 81-04
  2. Client – City
  3. Dirty Vegas – One
  4. Delerium – The Best of Delerium
  5. Bent – Ariels
  6. Jean-Michel Jarre – Aero
  7. Groove Armada – The Best of
  8. Air – Talkie Walkie
  9. Client – Client
  10. Duran Duran – Astronaut
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Retro chart for stowaways – 15 May 2004

I’m off on my holidays at the moment, so here’s the album chart from twelve years ago this week!

  1. Air – Talkie Walkie
  2. Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
  3. Goldfrapp – Black Cherry
  4. Dido – Life for Rent
  5. Erlend Øye – Erlend Øye – DJ-Kicks
  6. Zero 7 – When It Falls
  7. Sugababes – Three
  8. Dubstar – Stars – The Best of Dubstar
  9. Bent – Programmed to Love
  10. Sparks – Lil’ Beethoven

Bent – Intercept!

Laid back duo Bent‘s fourth and, to date, final studio album Intercept! came out a decade ago this week. As one of the most interesting and ingenious acts of their genre, that would seem to be a good excuse to give it a listen.

It begins with Exercise 7, completing a series of experimental instrumental pieces which go right back to some of their earliest releases. This one is a chirpy piece which begins with a sample asking “what would you do if you knew you only had three days to live?” and seems to take the choice of spending those last few days enjoying itself.

The one single from this album was the delightful To Be Loved, which builds gradually from a quirky introduction to a glorious chorus. It was never really going to make much of an impact on the charts, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.

Bent have, or perhaps had, a talent for gentle but catchy pop songs, with a bit of an eccentric touch here and there – and Stay Out All Night is a fine example of this. The lyrics are strange, perhaps even a little silly, but the delivery consists of an adorable vocal performance and some very sweet synth work, so it’s difficult not to like.

The instrumental Breakfast at 80,000 ft comes next, and then Tired of the Show, a curious piece which sounds from its vocal as though it ought to be a hard rock track, but the backing is a mixture of Bent‘s traditional soft sounds with a few grimey synth additions. It’s a strange mix, but it works rather well.

After the short instrumental piece Wendy, Darling, we get a less remarkable piece Waiting for You, catchier but somehow a lot less special than some of its neighbours, and then the lovely choral interlude of As Seen from Space.

If Bent‘s traditional brilliance had been lacking at all on the tracks up to this point, The Handbrake is definitely every bit as good as anything else they ever released. It’s a great song, with just a hint of early 1980s synth and bass work in amongst the gentle strumming guitar.

It was probably inevitable that they would leave us on a high. Leavin’ Me is a beautiful piece, apparently sampling Canadian country singer Anne Murray and adding a whole load of soft synth sounds and chimes. This is every bit as good as anything from Programmed to Love.

Right at the end comes the lovely After All the Love, another country-styled song, which appears to be largely accompanied by frogs chirping. Any criticisms this album may have received seem very unfair when you listen to this. Fans at the time seem to have struggled with Intercept!, and I think I understand why, but it’s a good album – just maybe not the best place to start your journey with the mysterious and wonderful Bent.

You can still find Intercept! at all major retailers. Don’t bother reading the reviews.

Greatest Hits – Vol. 8

Every so often I like to take a little downtime and remind you about some of the posts that you might have missed recently. Here are a few…

Retro chart for stowaways – 26 February 2005

Here are the top ten albums from eleven years ago:

  1. Mylo – Destroy Rock & Roll
  2. Erasure – Nightbird
  3. Client – City
  4. The Chemical Brothers – Push the Button
  5. Bent – Ariels
  6. Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95
  7. Depeche Mode – The Remixes 81-04
  8. Kylie Minogue – Ultimate Kylie
  9. Girls Aloud – What Will the Neighbours Say?
  10. Dirty Vegas – One

Retro chart for stowaways – 3 February 2007

The top ten singles from nine years ago:

  1. Client – Lights Go Out
  2. Eric Prydz vs. Floyd – Proper Education
  3. Depeche Mode – Martyr
  4. Sohodolls – No Regrets
  5. Girls Aloud – I Think We’re Alone Now
  6. Schmoof – Chocolate Boyfriend
  7. Pet Shop Boys – Numb
  8. Bent – To Be Loved
  9. Tiga – (Far from) Home
  10. Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Oooh