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4.6 out of 5 stars
25
4.6 out of 5 stars
Hot Shots II
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 27 April 2017
Great album.
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on 10 December 2001
A friend of mine gave me his copy of "the beta band" ('99) and said:"You wanna hear some really weird stuff?" I listened and concluded that this was far beyond hawkwind and just as strange and disturbed as beefheart. Only,.. I heard a lot more, and although it's not a great album, I somehow knew that something important was happening here. I bought "Hotshots" not because I expected such a brilliant record, but I just had to know what their next step would be.
The same week I went to a Roxy Music concert in Ahoy, Rotterdam. The next day, still feeling good about the roxymusic-gig, I suddenly realised that hotshots2 had the same quality as the first roxymusic album. The structure of the songs (songs changing halfway, or songs consisting of 2 or 3 songs put together) was not led by the universal "rules" for pop/rock-songs, but was led by a kind of emotion that every song had within itself. Being a musician myself I felt liberated when I heard this record. It's not easy for a musician to forget all the rules about how a pop-or-rocksong should be made, it's part of your basic (musical) knowledge. Betaband managed to leave everything behind, except their talent of inventing beautiful, very their-own, songs and compositions. And they also make the album sound like the perfect selection of songs for what this album stands for.
I don't want to sound like an idiot, but I think that the next release from the betaband could just be astonishing.
Excuse me for any language/style errors, I'm from Holland, so....
When will the betaband be performing in Holland?
With love...
Marcel
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on 20 August 2001
The 3 ep's contained some of the best music to come out of anywhere in absolutely ages. I had high hopes for their first album and whereas a few of the tracks blew me away, i thought it was overlong and unfocussed. Hot Shots II (a great title!) however shows a triumphant return to form, with some great, catchy tunes and their trademark subtlety and complexity ever present throughout. The highlights for me are Al Sharp, Gone (with a haunting quality reminiscent of Radiohead circa OK computer) and Broke. Where the hell do these guys get their ideas from?
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on 17 February 2002
This is the best album of 2001, I don't care what anyone says. It's an intricate, complex album - kind of like a clearer version of THE THREE EPs [but then, with the Beta Band, clear is hazy for any other band]. It's more concise and to the point, no 15-minute "Monoliths". You must hear these guys to believe them. I liken this album to their single "Human Being" - if you like that song, you'll love this album. It's quite chamber-poppish, filled with great harmonies and instrumental arrangements, but then you realize that, because it is produced by C-Swing, it's got those signature hip-hop electro-beats scattered throughout; then, at the end, it spins out into this Keith Moon-like drum fill, just to show you their retro sensibility. It is absolutely amazing, just like the rest of HOT SHOTS II - please go buy this album. Please.
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on 3 July 2005
How to describe Hot Shots II?
'Squares' starts almost pop - but with this cool trip hop tempo which immediately puts you in the mood. Then comes the almost accoustic 'Al Sharp' if it wasn't for the added mix effects and fabulous harmonies. The then rocky 'Human Being' followed by 'Hey my sister, won't you come and rest my soul'... The Beautiful 'Gone'indeed - a Gem!! You're then taken to the electro-beats of 'Broke'. Then 'Quiet' with its amazingly uplifting melodies and lyrics. 'Alleged' - a sixties' sound with a cool blues' touch! To finish with the great 'Life' and the final 'Eclipse' - with something about pizza pies and the fact that the music they make is not particularly good... Wonder where they picked that from!!!! A MUST!
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on 8 March 2004
I bought this album in the local record shop's closing down sale purely on the strength of a snippet of "Dry The Rain" in High Fidelity (the film) I couldn't find a copy of the 3EPs so took a chance on this, after all at £3 I couldn't go wrong.
Boy, that was a canny £3 spent. This album is a warm and human coherent body of work just right for lazy, blissful, summer evenings. I can't fault any particular track thou my favourite is Al Sharp with it's harmonies, however I find it difficult to list favourites with this Album as I tend to end up with 10.
If you do not already have any work by the Beta Band and are tempted to take a punt I would recommend to start here first, I found 3EPs (which I bought after loving this album), too self indulgent and incoherent, twiddley electronic noise for the sake of it is not big, nor is it clever, nor is it new. The BBC radiophonic workshop has been doing electronic music for years and are better at it. Oh and get the High Fidelity soundtrack for Dry the Rain - it is rather good.
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on 7 February 2002
Ah, the Beta Band. They'll never be a normal, proper band really will they? It's sometimes hard to love them, and just when they push you away with lousy albums ("The Beta Band") and grumpy interviews they come running back with open arms with superb singles like "To You Alone" and the occasional fantastic gig.
So, Hot Shots II finally arrived and they didn't slate it in the press. Unfortunately I did. Where was the Beta sound? Where was the beautifully strummed acoustic guitars and off-the-wall rhythms that were all over their magnificent "The 3 Eps"? Instead all I heard were a collection of rather dour, badly produced songs and an album I soon palmed off to a friend in disappointment.
Thankfully, something made me want to retrieve it back after a month or so. I think it was that I had "Squares" playing in my head constantly, and just when that had disappeared it was replaced with "Broke" - and then I realised, this was one of "those" albums - it was one that didn't necessarily ask you to fall in love with it straight away because you had to work at it.
Of course now I can't get enough of it, all except "Eclipsed" - which is still rubbish, but I'm glad once again that the Beta Band are still knocking around.
I might fall out of love with them again one day, but I know it won't be for long.
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on 16 July 2001
Been waiting ages for this one, bought it today and listened to it twice now. Seems to be a return to 3 Eps standard with a wee bit of King Biscuit thrown in. Amazing use of samples throughout, brave bunch of guys, especially after some of the dodgy reviews of Eponymous album. I always pick up early Floyd influences in the Beta's stuff, and again, strains of See Emily play, Cirrus Minor as well. Might all be in the production / general sound though. Highlights of Hot Shots? Squares is superb, sets the mood to a tee. Broke essential as well, heard the single a coupla weeks ago, really got my ears watering. Life? Again, smart... Quiet is a real builder, was dancing around in me living room after work to this one. Reckon that must be the desired effect? Packaging very cool too, nice wee poster thrown in.
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on 30 May 2001
well - we all loved the 3EPs. Then came the eponimously titled album, which, though it had a lot of individually good songs, just didn't hold together as an album. A few downbeat releases for singles followed and even the hardiest of fans were starting to feel a little bothered.
Worry no more.
Hotshots II is a "back to form" triumph - tunes soar and fill the room with sunshine; little melodies run about all over the place. I've had this album on continuous play for the last four days - and it's magical; a little difficult to get into for the first couple of plays but then it fits seamlessly next to the 3EPs. I'm even starting to think: could this even be better than the 3EPs? - only time will tell.
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on 8 May 2005
The Beta Band had failed to deliver on the promise of The Three EPs on their eponymous 'proper' debut, but they perfected a winning formula on this, the follow-up. Hot Shots II is by turns melodic, psychedelic, ambient and playful, and in Human Being alone it boasts one of the 21st Century's most vital moments so far.

From here, their next LP (the excellent Heroes To Zeros) was - in a commercial sense - a natural progression with more immediacy and potential populist appeal, but HSII has slowly worked its charms on me to the point where I would now rank it amongst my favourite 10-20 albums of all-time. What a shame that greater success continued to elude them. Who knows, though, maybe their time will come...?
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