(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
For those who do not know about It Bites, the band consist of four extremely talented individuals, whom like 10cc, had musicians that could play an assortment of instruments, making them a bit "above average" in comparison to the normal bands of their era.
The band consisted of lead singer and guitarist, Francis Dunnerry, whom also played a specially made ¡°tapboard¡± similar to the Chapman stick, but more versatile in its maneuverability (Francis handled flawlessly), John Beck on Keyboards, Dick Nolan on Bass and Bob Dalton on Drums.
The band would score a few of minor hits during the eighties in UK before splitting up, but in that short time, the band produced some excellent pop-metal material with art-rock pretensions, or imagine Genesis via Abacab with Steve Hackett as the guitarist and David Lee Roth singing?
The EP Once Around The World, was meant as a promotional showcase to the radio DJs in US, to sample It Bites. Featuring five songs, this served as a nice introduction to the band's catchy material, like radio friendly "Midnight" and "Rose Marie", but also ¡°Old Man And The Angel" and "Yellow Christian" which portrayed the band's art-rock side.
On the European side, the remaining four songs on Once Around the World, are the moody "Hunting The Whale", the Queen-like vocalization of "Plastic Dreamer", the groove driven "Black December" are all great but pale in comparison to the title track, "Once Around The World¡±, which shows the quartet in their glory, an ambitious piece for even a band like It Bites, with its City Boy-ish charm this song is one the better progressive rock pieces of the Eighties.
Sadly It Bites, with the pressure mounting and the bands fortunes going nowhere, the band would release on more album, which was met with commercial and critical disappointment, the band split up for a number of years, but just recently as of the summer of 2003, the band has official decided to re-form.
It Bites is for fans of hard-rocking Art-rock bands like City Boy and Queen
As with their first album, this second outing is filled to the brim with excellent pop prog music (also called art rock). Listen to “Kiss like Judas” with its power chords and fine vocal arrangements. Or the fine guitar lines of “Yellow Christian” it has a driving force that is hypnotic but still with a simple build up, mind you simple does not mean ordinairy. There are some fine breaks and again some wonderful vocals. And oh..that ending..great stuff! I really do think that these guys are brilliant and very underrated. Its a great shame they didn’t get the attention they deserved!
Of the nine tracks here, there are ‘only’ 2 which go past the 6 min. plus mark “Old man and the angel” which clocks in at 9:21 min. and again you get superb music and some very elaborate vocal arrangements plus the fine original guitar playing of Dunnery!
“Hunting the whale” with an intro that sounds like “Tomorrow belongs to me” is a real pop song clad in wonderful soothing tunes and those very fine vocal arrangements. Oh I love it!
Finally, and I do mean finally, last track - the title track: “Once around the world” with its almost 15 min. Starting out with some laid back keys, guitars and the ever supreme
Vocals, growing into some fine chord´n´break style. Nice! Then suddenly a cabaret style (which only UK groups master- well maybe with the exception of Ambrosia) the remaining 4 minutes are ruled by the ever excellent guitars & keys of It Bites!
I will only state this once, It Bites are (were) a brilliant art rock band and please do not cheat yourself of the chance of hearing or owning this very fine outfit from UK! In my opinion, they are a must in every prog freaks collection!
It Bites, a unique underrated UK pop prog band!