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Beta Band : Assessment

'Interesting' band make 'rock'n'roll' return...

Seemingly entrenched for the last two years making new costumes, spiralling into a Sun Ra-induced cascade of insanity, and, dare we say it, boffing

on da 'erb, hey hey here's Beta Band, back to save us from rock'n'roll mediocrity, the rise of the

cod covers band and having to watch gigs where the drummer plays anything other than plant pots. Scientists predict that rock will experience a 15.3 degree rise in 'interesting' over the next four minutes.





Because let's remember, this is a band who not only shunned their debut album proper for being 'shit' (it wasn't) and perversely saw fit to name their forthcoming album 'Heroes To Zeros', in the process rejecting traditional bullshit rock'n'roll hyperbolic proclamations of greatness (à la Jet

and Oasis) and allowing their music to confirm its own splendour. Let's remember that this is a band who would perform in Native American apparel if they saw fit, actually fulfilling the duty of great pop to make the effort. Let's also remember that this was a band that crammed more ideas, wit, style, charm and substance into their four-minute pop songs than White, Nicholls and Casablancas do over whole albums. This is a band who care.





If you discard the opening three seconds that sound troublingly like U2 - and who would have expected that? - 'Assessment' finds the Beta Band on fine, charismatically eccentric form: a rolling brass cascade of a song that swells and builds into something akin to Jonathan Richman's headstrong indie-disco anthem 'Roadrunner' entombed in the glacier-like heart of Joy Division, complete with Steve Mason's trademark geography supply teacher mumbling. 'Assessment' is a chest-bursting celebration of innovation and experimentation that neatly summarises all the benchmark qualities that made Beta Band's existence

so vital in the first place. It's a joy to have them back.





James Jam

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