9. Gypsy Rhapsody
11. Sugar Plum
- EXPLOSIVE: THE BEST OF BOND is a comprehensive collection for this all-female pop rock quartet. 12 songs are taken from the group's three albums and a few tracks that were never released. German import.
- Personnel: Shashi Pandit, Anita Kelsey (vocals); Dave "Clem" Clempson (guitar, electric sitar); Niksa Bratos (guitar); Pavlos Doukanares (bouzouki); Craig Pruess (mandola, sitar, tamboura); Haylie Ecker, Eos Chater (violin); Tania Davis (viola); Gay-Yee Westerhoff (cello); Ivica Murat (flute); Philip Todd (saxophone, EWI); Ben Gant, Paul Spong (trumpet); Peter Huntington (keyboards, percussion, programming); Adam Pickard, Eduardo Alarc¢n Leal, Eduard Botric (keyboards, programming); Tim Bran (keyboards); The Beatmasters (synthesizer, programming); Gareth Cousins (synthesizer); Damir Somen (drums); Kuljit Balma (tabla, percussion); Rony Barrak (percussion); Andrej Bako, Ric Featherstone, Magnus Fiennes, Peter Lazonby (programming).
- Audio Mixers: Clive Goddard; Niksa Bratos; Andy Bradfield; Mike Batt; Yoad Nevo.
- Recording information: Air Lyndhurst, London, England; Dubshack and Townhouse Studios, London, England; Olympic Studios, London, England; Sony Music Studios, London, England.
- Editors: Stewart Miller; Gareth Jones ; Matthew Vaughan.
- Photographer: Mitch Jenkins.
- Arrangers: Craig Pruess; Remi Kazinoti; Tonci Huljic; Nenad Siskov; Peter Lazonby; Will Malone; Mike Batt; Eduard Botric; Matt Dunkley.
- Explosive gathers 12 highlights from Bond's three studio albums. It also includes the previously unreleased "Carmina," "Caravan," and "Sugar Plum." It's kind of a strange time for the U.K. quartet to put out a collection like this. For one thing, discounting the new material, it's relatively brief. On the other hand, Explosive might be a way for Bond to further establish their slick amalgam of classical instrumentation, worldbeat, and dance music flourish. In that sense Explosive is a primer, a guidebook, a showcase; for Bond's established fans, it's a succinct album survey with the incentive of bonus content. Released in DualDisc format, the set includes music videos for the title track, "Victory," and "Fuego," as well as a photo gallery and the entire album in 5.1 Surround Sound. As usual, in the artwork and photography Bond have refused to be staid or classical. Explosive features Haylie Ecker, Eos Chater, Tania Davis, and Gay-Yee Westerhoff dressed to the hilt and surrounded by vibrant flora. As they've always done, particularly with 2003's Classified, the quartet stands boldly behind its style, no matter the naysayers. Of course, the usual criticisms do apply. Pieces like "Duel," "Viva!," and "Caravan" move well. But their gleaming intersection of flighty chamber instruments and relentlessly jaunty electronics tries so hard to be irrepressible that it can have the opposite effect. When that happens, Bond's music ends up at the border between the ultramodern and sounds for the background. (Much of Explosive would be perfect scene-setting music for the arrival of Lara Croft or a certain gentleman spy in some far-flung urban locale.) But Bond fans don't struggle with these questions of validity, and for them (or the casual, curious listener) Explosive is a worthy pickup. ~ Johnny Loftus