The Beta Band
If you're looking to buy an album based simply on how much music is packed onto the CD, you might want to check this thing out. Clocking it at almost 78 minutes, the disc pushes the boundaries of how much audio can actually fit on a CD. Seriously, though, that's only one in a long string of reasons why you should hear this excellent new (sort of) group. The title of the disc refers to none other than 3 EPs of 4 songs each that the group released over the period of the last couple years. The number of pressings of each release weren't very high though, so they've turned into quite the collectors items. Luckily, you can get them all in one place due to this re-release.
Speaking of the music, it's kind of hard to know where to start. The four person group sounds something like Beck with a lot more psychadelic and jam-band tendencies. Instead of condensing their tracks into radio-friendly 4-minute units, there are many songs on this disc that stretch on and on, but for the most part never really make the listener fell like they should have put the brakes on sooner. All kinds of instrumentation is used, from more standard fare like trumpets and guitar and bass to other strange percussion, samples and looped beats. It's truly a varied mix on every song.
Some of the best tracks on the disc are the ones that venture on for long periods of time. The instrumental "B+A" from the Champion Versions EP meanders along for awhile before busting into a loud, hand-clapping affair that will definitely inspire at least toe-tapping whenever played. The album centerpiece is a 16-minute track called "Monolith" from The Patty Patty Sound EP that goes through about 5 different wacked-out sessions including one with what sounds like sit-com theme music and bird noises to another with pitch-bent voices and live bongos. "She's The One" off the very same EP has enough pop sensibility and catchiness to have been a huge hit, had it not clocked in at well over 8 minutes long.
And so it goes with The Beta Band. Their lyrics sometimes sound like something you'd say during a hopscotch game, and other times they only seem like they're included to add another layer of sound to the music. It's fun, light stuff that has a tendency to get into your head and stick there. A couple times the songs meander just a little bit too much in the middle, but for the most part it doesn't even really matter because they're a band that's actually good at just jamming. Keep your eye on them.