“I’m tired of laying where my head don’t lie \ I’m tired of never seeing eye to eye \ There’s a fire burning deep down inside” are the desperate opening lines for Bend Sinister‘s latest tune. Bend Sinister are a hard band to classify.
According to their bio: “Labeled as anything from math to prog to pop but feel most comfortable in the plain guise of rock, Bend Sinister of Vancouver BC have evolved through numerous styles and absorbed a plethora of influences to become a band so refreshingly original that the struggle to categorize them is a losing battle.” It’s rock, but it’s not straight-up rock, and that’s what makes it worthy of multiple listens. Their latest song is “I’m Tired,” and the official video for it on their YouTube channel is shot in a kind of documentary style, splicing together found-footage of protests from around the United States, Canada, and the world. These are protests sparked by the infamous incident of police brutality in Minneapolis whose victim was a middle-aged black man named George Floyd. The video closes with a montage featuring images of other victims of police brutality and racism, fading in and out of each other as the song breaks down tempo-wise, shifting gears and becoming generally spacier.
“Lately it’s been hard to create or post anything that doesn’t acknowledge racism and the movements to dismantle it. This isn’t new. People have screamed it for hundreds of years, and countless voices have distilled the Black and Indigenous experience: James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ava DuVernay, Cornel West, Buffy Sainte-Marie, bell hooks, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Curtis Mayfield, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Spike Lee. We’ve been listening and learning about the history while reflecting on our own behaviours and thoughts. Learn about Selma, learn about Jim Crow, learn about Jamestown and John Punch, learn about the Indian Act, learn about residential schools. Empower yourself through education, and shake the apathetic nature we have sat so comfortably in to actively make a difference. Racism is a complex, deep-seeded, poison saturating the foundation of our society and institutions that spans many, many generations. It will take a shift of epic proportion to undo, and it’s real as the Earth is round. This is dedicated to Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Atatiana Jefferson , Rodney Levi, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Chantel Moore, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Botham Jean, Terrance Franklin, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, and all the nameless, faceless victims of police brutality.” – from Bend Sinister‘s YouTube description of the official video for “I’m Tired”
Along with their socially-conscious direction, Bend offer catchy music as well. A distorted clavinet riff, feedback slowly morphing into guitar lead, and banging wurlitzer chords are all the makings of a modern-rock classic, namely “I’m Tired.” The vocals have plenty of attitude and could have easily been heard on early Apple iPod commercials. The song is almost a two-in-one since things break down halfway through, and the song dials it down tempo-wise, showing us a more stoner-rock side to the group. “I’m tired of laying where my don’t lay” is repeated over and over, and the track begins sounding as if someone has slowed down a vinyl record. It’s trippy and has a great jam feel to it which is bound to please stoner-rockers everywhere!