THE BETA BAND, whose eagerly anticipated eponymous debut album is released next Monday, have described it as “fucking awful” and “the worst record made this year”.
In a remarkable interview in this week’s NME, The Beta Band had an almost unprecedented pop at their album – reminiscent of Lee Mavers denouncing The La’s 1990 debut album – with Steve Mason, BB frontman claiming: “It’s definitely the worst record we’ve ever made and it’s probably one of the worst records that’ll come out this year…But we can always do better. Next time.”
“It’s got some terrible songs on it, our album,” he said. “None of them are fully realised or fully even written. Half-written songs with jams in the middle.”
“The production could’ve been a little less muddy,” said bassist Richard Greentree.
“You can’t go blaming other people, though,” said DJ and visuals man John McLean.
The band blamed their record company for not giving them enough time or money to work on the record; there were also stories circulating that the band had been carpeted by their record company Regal – a subsidiary of Parlophone – over the state of the album and forced to ditch a second CD that contained a half-hour ambient track.
“Bit of a disappointment there as well.” said drummer Robin Jones.
“(it was supposed to be) An ambient… sound-piece. It’s really indulgent on our part, but I wanted to make it a musical story. In the same way ‘Chill Out’ by The KLF is a story. So it sort of succeeds. It just needed more… conclusions. Rushed again. We had four days.”
Regal Records boss and BB manager Miles Leonard dismissed the band’s gripes.
“They’re lame excuses. They had as much time as they wanted to have to make it, they were not forced to do anything they didn’t want to.” However, he admitted he did put the kibosh on one of the band’s ideas due to financial constraints.
He explained: “They wanted it to be a double album and they wanted to record each side in a different continent, one in Tokyo, one in Mexico, and so on. We tried to plan it but to do it would have been impossible. It would have cost three-quarters of a million pounds or something and they would have lost the plot.”
As for the producer, he said that Chris Allison had worked with the band before, but that it just hadn’t worked out this time.
Miles continued: “In all honesty, they could have done better, but it’s nowhere near as bad as they say. But at least Steve knows he can do better, so it means they’ll come back and record something even better and that’s great.”
However, Steve Mason remained unconvinced and concluded: “The next one’ll be even worse.”
See NME this week for the full BB interview and album review.