Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
If only all albums were made like this
on 7 February 2005
I have no idea why The Beta Band are so ashamed with their eponymous debut. For a band to be given the creative freedom they were given at such an early stage in their career is a definate sign of incredible talent, and giving creative control to these guys was a very good idea. Definately song based, but every song manages to achieve so much by exploring four hundred different ideas at a time. Even the hyper minimalist Simple Boy is greater than the entire back catalogues of some bands. Extremely simple drums and almost gregorian chanting, but the lyrics and overall mood create a work of inspired genius.
The album's strongest point is It's Not Too Beautiful, an ominous broody psychadelic plod through a dark forest that erupts into a breakdown of sampled orchestration and Dark Side of the Moon style sound effects.
Other tracks to note are Smiling, which could be classed as funk were it not for the speeded up vocals, and The Hard One, ten minutes of ticking clocks, ominous bass chords and "borrowed" lyrics.
Weirdly, it is during the more conventional moments when the album falters. The acoustic folk epic of Broken Up A Dingdong would sound fantastic on 3 EPs, but simply sounds out of place on this collection which defies description. The same can be said for the cheeky assertions of Number 15. ("Fifteen reasons not to spend my life with you".) Excellent song, but definately out of place.
The band described this album as an awful collection of "half songs with jams in the middle". I can sort of see where they're coming from, but is that really a bad thing? I have not heard anything like this before, it's a real step forward. The band should count this as their finest moment.
I only wish they'd been allowed to go along with the original plan to include a second disk that featured a single hour long descent into madness. Hopefully this will one day surface in a box set or something, but until then we can only dream.