Bend Sinister - Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers (Cover Artwork)

Bend Sinister

Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers (2008)


Distort Entertainment is fairly well-known for putting out melodic, heavy music by some of the best in the business such as Alexisonfire and Cancer Bats. Imagine my surprise when I popped in Bend Sinister's Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers for the first time and was hit with piano-driven, 1970s vintage rock ‘n' roll. To get an idea of what this band sounds like, imagine that Freddy Mercury adopted three kids and Elton John adopted two kids. Eventually these kids ended up meeting in high school, start smoking weed and listening to Black Mountain. Shortly thereafter Bend Sinister was formed.

Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers is a shameless and extremely well-executed throwback to classic rock. Aggressive drumming keeps the pace of the album relatively fast but never abrasive, and the rock-solid basslines round out the rhythm section leaving a sturdy foundation for the songs to build upon. A wealth of hooky guitar riffs and harmonized solos are tastefully dispersed across the predominantly piano and organ-driven songs and hold the attention of the listener. Backing vocals are used very liberally and do a lot in helping the band achieve the classic rock sound they seem to be after, and the occasional use of strings adds that much more to the songs they're used in.

Standout tracks include "Give in to the Night" with its focus on the skills of the pianist, and the fast-paced, ultra-jazzy "Dr. Lee" that features a wicked scat vocal hook. This album doesn't break a lot of new ground but it's so well done that it doesn't even matter. Anyone into classic rock along the lines of Queen and Elton John will probably appreciate this a lot, but if the classics aren't your thing you likely won't find anything here that will change your mind.