Monday, October 24, 2011
REVIEW: The Beets - Let the Poison Out
If I were writing a rock music menu, Let the Poison Out from The Beets would have a fairly long list of ingredients. There is garage, punk, and folk, most certainly. But there is a good dose of 90s slacker, Americana, and from the back of the spice cabinet, a bit of 70s California country rock. Of course, ingredients are only part of the story -- the magic is in how they are blended together -- and The Beets have cooked us a fun, varied and tasty album.
"Doing As I Do", the fifth track and first single from the album is a folk rock anthem that readily attaches to the pleasure center of your brain:
"Preso Voy" is a snake-rhythm Spanish language vamp that will bring to mind The Strange Boys or The Black Lips. "Let Clock Work" slows things down and comes close to the indie guitar pop of Wonderwall-era Oasis. The album closer, "Walking to My House", has a dreamy, hazy psych feel. I think that overall these songs are the strongest and most varied of The Beets' career.
The Beets are Juan Wauters (guitar and vocals), Jose Garcia (bass and vocals), Matthew Volz (official artist, including album covers and flyers, and occasional recorder playing), and Chie Mori (drums). Mori is a recent addition to the band, and her addition brings additional depth to the songs by adding female vocals to the punk/garage delivery of Mr. Wauters. Wauters, originally from Uruguay, met Garcia in community college and formed the band. Volz has been with them nearly from the start, but Mori is the most recent, but, according to the band, last of the musicians to play drums for the group. The Beets are based in Queens, New York, but this album is released on the tastefully ambitious Hardly Art label in Seattle.
"I Think I Might Have Built A Horse"
The band's ancestors, and heroes, are fellow New Yorkers, The Ramones. But Let the Poison Out isn't an imitation of the punk/garage godfathers. These songs have varied pace and thematic cohesiveness while retaining genre appropriate structures and an appealing sing-along quality. I suggest that you give this album a try--it is one of the fun releases of the year.
Artist page at Hardly Art