The Beta Band - Hot Shots II

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2001-07-16

Hot Shots II is like a step back in time to when the wilful eclecticism of Super Furry Animals and creepy child-like melodies of Talk Talk held sway, a time when everything psychedelic seemed to come infused with Gregorian melancholia. The Beta Band's second album proper, Hot Shots II shows exactly why bedsit boys like Radiohead love 'em. It has soul, imagination and a most welcome inclination to gently experiment in found sound, while retaining a completeness lacking from their self-titled 1999 release. "Gone" swirls and eddies with wistful abandon, "All Sharp" utilises a tingly toy piano, while "Alleged" could be mistaken in a dim light for an acoustic track from Beck, a damn fine one at that. Then these four recalcitrant Scots boys throw in some raw temperate beats on "Broke" and some delirious three-part Beatles-esque harmonies on the closing, confusing "Eclipse", two tracks that straddle the middle ground between Kraftwerk and Jools Holland's "Later With..." and show with disconcerting ease that they're still lakes ahead of the opposition. --Everett True

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