When a record that starts with a freakish rendering of the '40s novelty tune "Mr. Sandman" collides into a loping rap that boasts of chicken, fish, and cold love in Scotland and then maneuvers into a rave-up worthy of Elvis, it normally would spell trouble. But the Beta Band actually manage to make this wacked-out pastiche work. The Scottish combo skillfully massage their tracks into thrilling sound collages that draw on electronica, country, prog rock, and psychedelia without ever going beyond the point of kitsch. The stoned beauty of "It's Not Too Beautiful" recalls the mesmerizing layered vocals of Pink Floyd, but tosses in a demented breakdown to throw any nostalgia seeker off the scent. The steel drums and reggae bass line of "No. 15" combine shamble with shuffle to give this slacker's recitation of "15 reasons not to spend my life with you" a lazy charm. The Beta Band extend a simple invitation with their woozy music: Get baked. --Lois Maffeo
Debut full length by U.K. alternative outfit who mix just about every style of music and end up sounding like no one else. Traces of Beck, Aphex Twin, Guided By Voices and many others can be heard in the 10 cuts. 1999 release.