Review : The Beets - Stay Home
PitchforkAt a time when bands place a premium on lo-fi production values, the Beets deserve credit for taking it way too far. 2009's Spit in the Face of People Who Don't Want to Be Cool had a recording quality that was shoddy to the point of self-sabotage, forgoing noisy static for a sound that suggested the band had wrapped their microphones in damp towels before pressing the "record" button on a thrift-store answering machine. Their debut was a blend of 1960s rock swagger, infectious melodies, and wry humor, becoming a minor cult hit among the DIY set and receiving both an enthusiastic rave by John Darnielle and an opening slot for his Mountain Goats on tour in 2010. Stay Home finds the band using the attention they've received as inspiration to clean up their act... a little.
While Spit in the Face-- described by the band as "a collection of 12 songs about being cool"-- executed the "cool" concept right down to its outrageously limited run of 200 physical copies and hand-drawn, Crayola-core cover art, Stay Home is (spoiler alert) "a collection of 13 new songs about staying home." "This ain't paranoia, no it's not," sing guitarist Juan Waulters and bassist Jose Garcia in unison on "Hens & Roosters", debunking any notion that the album was created by a group of Chicken Littles crouched in fear of the sky crumbling around them. But the record is very much about staying home, whether parking your behind in front of the boob tube (the raucous and charmingly amateurish "Watching TV"), hanging out with your old man ("Pops N Me"), or doing the same with the person you love ("Your Name Is on My Bones")....full text
ConsequenceofsoundFirst things first: There isn’t a track called “Killer Tofu” on this whole album. Not one. As the title suggests, these Beets are singing about staying home, rather than destructive soy-based protein sources. They do have some of that Beatles-y pop to their sound, but it’s buried inside a batch of gruff garage pop rather than any mod sensibilities. Proudly coming out of Jackson Heights, Queens, the four-piece is releasing this follow-up to 2009′s debut LP, The Beets Spit In The Face of People Who Don’t Want To Be Cool. This time, Stay Home keeps the same aesthetics (both musically, and with their, odd, hand-colored album cover) but with a whole new set of tracks.
Scribbled across the bottom of the disc is the promise that this is “A collection of 13 new songs about staying home by: The Beets”, and that promise is fulfilled. There’s also a picture of some sort of giant native man slicing into the head of a photographer, but that’s a whole different story, probably. But, from the start, the effortless, twist-and-shout-worthy music is the real draw. “Cold Lips” opens the disc, with group shouted vocals, a simple, chugging guitar progression and loping bass line. It’s all on the edge of sloppy, but a “we’ve had a lot of whiskey and are enjoying ourselves” sloppy, rather than an unpracticed or uncaring one. “Dead” follows at a slower pace, vocalist/guitarist Juan Wauters shaking at the center of the track, his yelping vocals the star.
Throughout, the drumming is amazingly and perfectly simple. This isn’t music for giant drum fills; instead, it seems to have been done on the sparest of kits, perhaps two drums, while it sounds like an upturned bucket and clicking drumsticks on “Hens and Roosters”. That ramshackle, lo-fi aesthetic comes across as a ploy on so many records, but combined with the group’s aching vocals and loose guitar-work, everything fits into a puzzle of sincerity, like they only had the bucket while writing the song and decided it sounded pretty good....full text
ElboFirst things first: There isn't a track called "Killer Tofu" on this whole album. Not one. As the title suggests, these Beets are singing about staying home, rather than destructive soy-based protein sources. They do have some of that Beatles-y pop to their sound, but it's buried inside a batch of gruff garage pop rather than any mod sensibilities. Proudly coming out of Jackson Heights, Queens, the four-piece is releasing this follow-up to 20092s debut LP, The Beets Spit In The Face of People Who Don't Want To Be Cool ...full text
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