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IT BITES

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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It Bites biography
IT BITES was formed in the mid-'80s by vocalist and guitarist Francis DUNNERY, bassist Dick NOLAN, drummer Bob DALTON and keyboard player John BECK. The music is typical of Prog Rock bands that try to go mainstream, like some PENDRAGON stuff. Their ability to blend reggae, pop and new age into a metal foreground is totally mind blowing. Big sound and direct melodies form a cocktail which any fan will appreciate. Anyone who listens to this group for the first time is in for an audible rollercoaster ride. IT BITES should be considered a collector item for all listeners of all British Prog bands (PENDRAGON, BIG BIG TRAIN, MARILLION etc.).

The band matured with "Once Around the World", exerting more traditional rock influence. This release is the most progressive with its 15-minute title track. Fantastic...! Their final release, "Eat Me in St. Louis", was a collection of unreleased and new material. The disc shows that they truly were one of the best bands to successfully merge progressive rock with a more pop-oriented mode. IT BITES is really a great PROG BAND.

Apparently the band has reformed with a new lead singer and guitarist John Mitchell (Kino, Arena, Frost), as Francis Dunnery is no longer willing to contribute to a new album. The new IT BITES is writing new material and will start recording at the end of 2006 with a tour before and after the release.

It Bites official website

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Buy IT BITES Music


Whole New WorldWhole New World
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$13.45
$19.36 (used)
The Big Lad in the WindmillThe Big Lad in the Windmill
Import
Virgin 1986
Audio CD$5.08
$7.10 (used)
Map of the PastMap of the Past
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2012
Audio CD$8.84
$6.74 (used)
Tall ShipsTall Ships
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$25.66 (used)
Best of: IT BITESBest of: IT BITES
Import
EMI Europe Generic 2003
Audio CD$11.56
$9.22 (used)
It Bites: Strange But TrueIt Bites: Strange But True
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$5.95
$27.35 (used)
Big Lad in WindmillBig Lad in Windmill
Import
EMI Import
Audio CD$9.30 (used)
Live in Montreux  1987Live in Montreux 1987
Extra tracks · Import
Bites 2006
Audio CD$13.58
$23.45 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
IT BITES 7" SINGLE WHOLE NEW WORLD +PICTURE SLEEVE EXCL 1986 VS896 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1h 5m
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2h 55m
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IT BITES Eat Me In St. Louis VJCP-23112 CD JAPAN 1991 OBI USD $55.92 Buy It Now 3 days
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IT BITES Once Around The World TOCP-67744 CD JAPAN 2006 OBI USD $46.31 Buy It Now 5 days

More places to buy IT BITES music online Buy IT BITES & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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IT BITES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IT BITES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.84 | 67 ratings
The Big Lad In The Windmill
1986
3.72 | 92 ratings
Once Around The World
1988
3.35 | 65 ratings
Eat Me In St. Louis
1989
3.82 | 159 ratings
The Tall Ships
2008
3.75 | 135 ratings
Map Of The Past
2012

IT BITES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 18 ratings
Thank You And Goodnight - Live
1991
3.60 | 10 ratings
Live In Montreux
2003
3.94 | 17 ratings
When The Lights Go Down
2007
3.92 | 12 ratings
This Is Japan
2010

IT BITES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 6 ratings
Live in Tokyo
2005
4.00 | 3 ratings
It Happened One Night
2011

IT BITES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
The It Bites Album
1989
3.41 | 9 ratings
Calling all the Heroes : The Best of It Bites
1995

IT BITES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

IT BITES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Tall Ships by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.82 | 159 ratings

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The Tall Ships
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars When it was first announced that there was going to be a new It Bites album in 2008, but that the band wasn't going to involve Francis Dunnery, there was more than one person wondering what on earth was going to happen. True, keyboard player John Beck and drummer Bob Dalton were still going to be there, but who was going to be the new frontman? Step up John Mitchell, who is probably best-known for his incredibly long-running stint in Arena (in the early days the standing joke was that if you wanted to stay in the band then you shouldn't be at one side of the official press photo, as there was a rather fluid line-up back then). Now, John has a wide and varied repertoire and can put his hand to anything (I once saw him, Paul Cook and JJ act as the backing band for a Canadian singer- songwriter), but It Bites? Here is a band that is probably more loved now than in their heyday, so what was going to happen?

The three of them were going to produce an almighty success, that's what. I saw the original line-up support Marillion on the Misplaced Childhood tour sometimes a million years ago, and I remember being distinctly unimpressed (although in fairness, all I knew of theirs at the time was "Calling All The Heroes"), but here I was grabbed right from the off and stayed with it all the way through to the end. This reminds me so much of the days in the early Nineties when I seemed to be in a permanent state of wonderment about how many great bands there were in the scene, and how many stunning albums there were to listen to. This has been a constant returnee to my player since it was released in 2008, and I have only just realised that I never wrote anything about it at the time!! This has everything anyone could want from It Bites, with poptastic melodies and harmonies and the synthed layers of the opening "Oh My God" dares the listener to turn it off ? impossible.

John's singing fits the music perfectly, and in many ways it really does sound as if It Bites have never been away. So many styles, so many flavours to savour, and there is even a thirteen-minute epic to close with. If somehow this album has passed you by, then you should seek it out immediately.

 Eat Me In St. Louis by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.35 | 65 ratings

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Eat Me In St. Louis
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by poito

3 stars 3.5 Every new album by this band has a different taste. Since the former Once Around The World they have abandoned Pop, but also Prog, to get somewhere in the middle, more Art-Rock if you like. The themes do not have the standard closed structure but they are not progressive either. It is the peculiar inflections that Francis Dunnery makes in the voices that characterize the melodies, kind of funny and teaser, and in many occasions backed by others playing choral. Guitars have gone metal definitely, and a little bit funky too. The sound is much more compact than before, with the bass line acting as glue rather than setting rhythms. The album is rather uniform with a good quality in its own style and flawless execution, although some tracks stand out, as the ballade Still Too Young To Remember. I like the combination of choral singing and guitar riff in Sister Sarah, the only guitar acoustic theme Charlie, which could have been cut down to half or less, and the mood in Leaving Without You. In short, a good album for Art-Rock followers with little prog in it.
 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 135 ratings

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Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by poito

5 stars 4.5 This unstable band has released very few albums with different line-ups since mid-80's. They used to split souls between Pop and Prog, but in this last studio album they abandoned Pop in favor of Rock, although Symphonic and melodic Prog is the dominant style. It seems the new members Mitchell and Pomeroy gave it a different direction, much more interesting in my view. The melodies are more intimate, emotional, and the tracks are much better thought, the effort at composition is all throughout, not as in the former The Tall Ships that was superficial and made for radio listener. That one was Pop-oriented, and short of creativity. That changed here; even smooth tracks aren't mainstream, as in Clocks, or the perfect ballad The Last Escape, with a remarkable singing. The short opener and closing themes are little simple pieces of a high sensitivity. There are some really brilliant themes, such as the album's title track and Cartoon Graveyard with nice work at the keys and the guitar, and the Send No Flowers with strong reminiscences to Genesis, same as Meadow and the Stream. The singing by Mitchell is not that oppressive and leaves enough room for the music to flow, thanks god. This album is a real hit, quite underrated in my view, the music sounds fresh and clear, and there are no fillers, one may play it once and again.
 The Tall Ships by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.82 | 159 ratings

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The Tall Ships
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by poito

3 stars New line up for this charismatic band of the 80's, with founder Francis Dunnery replaced by John Mitchell, who takes the lead and makes an entirely different sound. The objectives 20 years later are still schizoid, oriented to a particular hybrid Pop-prog audience that probably exists in UK, but is scarce anywhere else. If the album was to be reviewed by a Pop fan it would probably be as restless as a Prog fan like me. There are great Pop themes with some bits of Prog, and also some excellent Prog tracks with some bits of Pop. In good order it should be downgraded, but the Prog elements are so good. One problem is that the singer, who is really good, does not stay silent for a second, and spoils so many moments when the music should flow alone. But he is probably the composer, and takes it all. It would have been preferable to include more keyboard riffs instead, which are almost absent. The great Pop themes are Playground, Tall Ships, Fahrenheit, and For Safekeeping, but the jewels in the album are This Is England, a 13 min track with at least 4-5 perfectly blended tunes, and the opening track Oh my God, a delicatessen with a choral work that reminds of early classics as Yes. In the end you are left with a bittersweet taste, thinking I won't be back to this album, I don't want to punish my delicate ears with cheesy Pop, but then I will lose quite a few great Prog bits. Dammit! One way out may be to keep the tracks you like and throw the others away.
 Once Around The World by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.72 | 92 ratings

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Once Around The World
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by poito

3 stars 3.5 This is an album of its time, probably the band too. I mean that it marries to mainstream music of the epoch. And it is a real pity because the band is very talented, both at composing and in the execution, with such a good instrumental mastery. As you will read in other reports, the band is Pop-Prog oriented, a blend of styles that are opposing in essence and that I thought they could never get along, but these guys almost get it done, and it seems it got quite a few hardcore followers. There are lots of interesting moments, but it is kind of frustrating to get them out of the chaff. I would spare Rose Marie, a fast beat track for fun, Old Man And The Angel, a 9 min track with almost no Pop and quite a few good moments and ideas, Plastic Dreamer and the album title track, which seems to be a present for Prog fans with almost no adulteration from the dark side of the music. In these, it seems to be a different band, still with same sounds but much more ambitious and creative.
 Once Around The World by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.72 | 92 ratings

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Once Around The World
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album was a pleasant surprise for me to find out about and listen to. I first heard about It Bites a year ago when they released "Map of the Past" and it showed up on my Amazon page. I thought they were some new band but somehow heard that they'd released an album or two before. Then while reading Stephen Lambe's book "Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock", I was surprised to read that It Bites was a band from the 80's! Lambe wrote that their "Once Around the World" album was a surprise piece of prog in the prog parched 80's. I felt that I must check it out and with little more than a glimpse at a video on YouTube I ordered it.

The first two tracks are what I had expected from an 80's album. This is 80's rock that is too synthesizer-swamped for the guitars to make it hard rock, but too rockin' to be just 80's pop. Call it 80's pop rock if you like. Not quite my taste and a little embarrassing to have playing on the car stereo. But not bad songs for what they are.

The third track "Yellow Christian" is in the same vein but more synth and less guitars, making it seem closer to bubblegum pop except that in the middle there's a smart section that turns to prog flavour. The first time I heard this my ears pricked right up after having tuned out of the music. Now I knew that this album might have a few surprised before the big 14-minute-plus finale.

"Rose Marie" sounds to me like mid-eighties Uriah Heep or Blue Oyster Cult. The guitar playing is enjoyable but particularly so because in the YouTube video segment I watched, guitarist Francis Dunnery explained about using a guitar where the strings are higher off the fret-board, making the finger work necessarily more precise. My first guitar also had such high strings and it was not easy to learn how to play a lot of hard rock songs at first. Later when I bought a Gibson Epiphone (a Les Paul would have been nice but...) I at last had an easier time of playing. So, I could appreciate Dunnery's skill and the different quality of sound his guitar solos have on the album.

"Black December" is much like most of the album sounds so far. But things are about to get more interesting.

While on the surface "Old Man and the Angel" sounds like another pop rock track, it soon changes and fits in a wonderful prog section in the middle. At first I was thinking that this is what Yes should have been doing on "Big Generator" but then I thought It Bites were pre- saging the prog revival of the 90's, in particular sounding a bit like The Flower Kings. When the song concludes with its pop rock chorus it maintains an odd drum beat. It Bites came to the dinner party in an appropriate jacket but has now taken it off and is showing a prog T-shirt underneath.

"Hunting the Whale" and "Plastic Dreamer" both take us away from the pop rock factory in different ways. At times I felt the vocals sounded a bit theatrical like Peter Gabriel but "Hunting the Whale" really comes off sounding like what Genesis might have been had the classic line-up held together into the late 80's. It's a bit bizarre with a raucous tavern dinner atmosphere at the beginning and the end, whale sounds, some crusty old salt singing from his boat all blended with an 80's synthesizer as the main music. "Plastic Dreamer" tells the story of someone who gets himself locked in the toy store so he can confirm his belief that the toys come alive at night. Darth Vader dressed in drag is one of the many humorous images conjured up in the lyrics. The whimsy of the song sounds like what some otherwise serious pop rock band would have put on their album and have had it criticized as filler or inconsistency. But I find this song and the previous one showing the band's humour and willingness to go out on a limb.

Of course the song that Stephen Lambe praised was the album closer "Once Around the World". Clocking in a just under fifteen minutes, this song begins very smoothly and appropriately where the music of "Plastic Dreamer" ended off, with very beautiful and delicate synthesizer. The song picks up and goes through some interesting changes not unlike "Supper's Ready" by Genesis with odd clips and snippets of what could have been other songs fitted in smartly. As the music graduated through its atmospheres, tempos, and flavours, I felt it could easily have appeared on any Flower Kings album.

My conclusion thus far is that this album introduces itself as a pop rock album but reveals its secret intention to keep symphonic prog alive in the 80's. Considering that the old guard of the 70's were either split up or recording pop music and the neo-prog movement was by 1988 turning towards the mainstream more and more, finding an album like this one is quite a surprise. Once again I must restate my impressions that It Bites sound like a mixture of how classic Genesis might have sounded in the 80's and The Flowers Kings with a hint of what 80's Yes could have been. Pop rock songs aside, I think this was a very bold and intriguing album for the band to make. It is perhaps due to be rated as one of my favourite prog rock albums of the 80's.

Not quite essential to any prog rock collection but certainly essential for an 80's prog collection. For the effort put toward prog on this album I'll give it four stars.

 The Big Lad In The Windmill by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.84 | 67 ratings

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The Big Lad In The Windmill
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars The only thing I knew about It Bites was that they were a Neo Prog band. I've covered their latest album Map Of The Past (2012) in the News section of my website and that was it.

Then, the other day I was watching VH1 and a weird 80's band was playing. A bunch of geeky/nerd guys playing another 80's kind of Pop. But paying close attention they were different from the other 80's guys, so I was curious and waited to know who they were. It was It Bites.

So, I was curious because I didn't know this guys started in late 80's. Went to Spotify and they were there so I give a try on their debut album The Big Lad In The Windmill (1986).

Well, this isn't really Prog, not even Neo Prog. But it's not your everyday 80's Pop act too. In fact they were something in between, that for sure would grow for something more interesting in the near future. Despite the fact that there's few Prog in here I found it very amusing. Including the single 'Calling All The Heroes' that is unusual for a single in those days.

The Big Lad In The Windmill (1986) is an album that should be checked to understand the band later on Once Around The World (1988).

 The Big Lad In The Windmill by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.84 | 67 ratings

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The Big Lad In The Windmill
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Some years ago, this band was featured under the "Neo Prog" category and then shifted to the "X-over one).

Still, when I listen to their first release, I can hardly find anything prog in here. The worst being achieved with a soul type of song la Motown: "Whole New World". Press next is the best attitude you can handle here.

The next "Wanna Shout" reminds me more of "Duran Duran" than anything prog at all. I can't say that the following "Turn Me Loose" is of great inspiration. Some flat pop song with no emotion at all. I am afraid that the press next exercise needs to be implemented here as well (but that's valid from track one unfortunately). This one is a real bad song indeed.

To find a great track here is like the search of the Holy Graal: impossible. Not even talking about prog of course. "Cold, Tired and Hungry" belongs to these even if a great guitar break is a kind of a highlight ion the midst of misery.

The disco and unbearable to my ears "Calling All The Heroes" just confirm my feeling. As far as I am concerned, this is a complete waste of an album. The type of "press next" all the way. When you reach "You''ll Never Go To Heaven", you might think that at last, a good prog moment is reached. But the feeling only lasts for 90 seconds. Even if to be honest, the closing guitar section is rather pleasant.

One star is my intimate and honest feel.

 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 135 ratings

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Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars It Bites goes conceptual

Upon hearing the news that It Bites was releasing a concept album, I was naturally intrigued. Especially so as their previous album, The Tall Ships, the first album by the re-formed band, had been such a strong one. Map Of The Past was released earlier this year and I got it shortly after its release date. I gave it about one and a half listen at the time, concluding that it was rather disappointing. I let it rest for a while. Hearing it again now my impression is slightly more positive, but it is clear that it does fall far behind the excellent The Tall Ships.

While there is nothing bad as such about this album, it just fails to impress me. The songs are generally short and catchy, and the conceptual nature of the album does not manage to push it much beyond good quality, sophisticated Pop Rock music. It might be objected that this is what It Bites is all about. In a way it is, of course, but previous albums where musically somewhat more ambitious to my ears. There is no doubt that the current line-up consist of highly talented musicians, and they have written a decent set of tunes, but the end result is not an album that demands or even deserves many listens. It is an enjoyable listen while it lasts, but I have no desire to return to it and most probably won't.

There are some good moments, but nothing too special. It is not their worst album, but certainly not the best.

Good, but far from essential.

 Map Of The Past by IT BITES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 135 ratings

BUY
Map Of The Past
It Bites Crossover Prog

Review by devox

5 stars The second album from the reinvigorated It Bites is not as immediate as its predecessor, the brilliant Tall Ships, but repeated plays really show this as an album of rare brilliance. The haunting opening of Man in the Photograph segues into the punchy Wallflower with some keyboard acrobatics from Beck underpinned with solid bass and guitar. Map of the Past is the band in Bombastic overload with its big chorus and chunky riffs. Mitchells Guitar truly soars here. It also contains the best lyric of the album "what seperates from Chimpanzees is finite sense of Dignity". Clocks is the big ballad of the album with its swaying rhythm and beautifully understated musicianship from the entire band. Mitchells vocal style suits this type of song like a velvet glove. Flag is old school it bites, poppy, bright keyboards and singalong chorus ensure this is going to be a live favourite. A change of pace with Big Machine, a Progtastic little gem allowing beck and , in particular, Bob Dalton to shine. Theres also a trademark Mitchell piece of Guitar genius thrown in for good measure. Cartoon Graveyard fizzes and tumbles, briefly shakes hand with Genesis, and runs into Send No Flowers which limps along like a wounded animal and should have been put out of its misery on the cutting room floor.Standout track, Meadow and the Stream, is beautiful,chilling and nigh on perfect. We end with the emotional, heartbreaking Last Escape with one of those wonderfully stirring Mitchell solos and a final acoustic farewell. The whole album is held together by Daltons' superb drumming and Pomeroys understated bass. Just missing out on album of the year so far due to freak genius and clockwork angels
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