News The Beets - Stay Home

It’s really tempting to want to applaud them for their apparent lack of care…

Prefaced by the caption, ‘A collection of 13 new tracks about staying home by The Beets’ and a cover with all the graphic qualities of Morph if you stuck a pencil up his nose, The Beets second long player could be easily mistaken for a junior school project. And yet the world of Queens duo of Juan Wauters and Jose Garcia is not quite so infantile: And, aurally, not so new neither.

With an amassed five years together, the combined vocals surprise by sounding something like a hesitant karaoke number – one well versed in the lyrics, the other following behind. The obvious rock n roll shuffle of opener ‘Cold Lips’ creates its own vintage of walking bass mixing it with the spit of almost mimicking vocals that, once your ears have adjusted, sounds pretty exciting.

However, as we proceed the effect – far from the frenetic fuzz of Times New Viking, or the outback energies of Harlem – is one of disintegrating lo-fi gusto. Both of the aforementioned ‘buzz’ bands succeeded in capturing the bands’ essence, despite what some would consider a criminal lack of respect for conventional levels. But with The Beets, when the bass and drums are doing very little in the mix, they allow them to steal the limelight and deny the cleverness of the vocal, the most charming part of this group.

That said the alternating rhythm guitar on ‘Young Girl’ has shades of Ramones in its simplicity and if it was good enough for them then this replica slacker jaunt can’t fair too badly. Likewise is the bratty strains of ‘Watching TV’, with the instrumental breaking things up as simply as possible.

Belying their tendency for simplicity, though, The Beets mess around with a selection of minor chords for ‘Just A Whim’ that faintly recall Lennon’s more brilliant melancholic moments for The Beatles, but with little kick up to the song – at a mere 2:59 – it somehow drags.

A sloppy call and response for the lilting ‘Pops N Me’ adds a nicer depth of sound to the LP, you can almost see them sitting across the room from one another rather than hunched in the background of the studio, and the denial of pitch from either party recalls the more countrified gents The Black Lips. Thankfully they do manage to step out of some shadows for some tracks, take ‘Hens and Roosters’ for a cutesy 4/4 shuffle through a metaphor of growing up and fighting against it, setting the percussion a little looser.

It’s really tempting to want to applaud them for their apparent lack of care; after all isn’t art a selfish endeavour, intended to please the creator, an expression of themselves to be put to the world as a statement rather than an invitation? So what if it sounds like a cassette tape that’s been left out in the sun? But without the right listening equipment or a minor tweak, ‘Stay Home’ comes close to un-listenable. When you sound like you’ve aged badly, where else is there to go?

Tags: The Beets, Reviews, Album Reviews

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