This is an amazing album. I first heard about The Beta Band when I saw an interview with them in NME in which they denounced this album, and told everyone not to buy it. Somehow, I was convinced that it was something worth checking out, and bought it, having never heard them. The first time I listened to the album, my reaction was a mixture of confusion, amusement, and disappointment, but after five listens or so, I was won over to this bizarre album's charms. These days it's one of my favourite albums. Utterly inspiring, atmospheric, perfectly orchestrated music. It brings the feeling of a big ol' hoe-down to modern pop music. The Beta Band know how to make a pop song which incorporates hand claps, cowbells, steel drums, accoustic guitars, echoes, animal noises, bike pumps, sped-up voices, birds tweeting, big thudding bass lines, hip-hop beats, words spoken over music, incongrous musical samples, stereo trickery, wow and flutter, whistles, and xylophones. Highlights include: 'It's Not Too Beautiful', with it's jarring use of an orchestral sample from the theme to a Disney film and its inversion of the chorus of 'Itchycoo Park'; 'Round The Bend', the most conventional pop song on the album, and a tip of the hat to the Beach Boys; 'Number 13', an incredibly catchy lo-fi reggae dub; 'Smiling', possibly my favourite dance song ever; 'The Hard One', a moving masterpiece which samples 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' - but not jokingly; and 'The Cow's Wrong', an amazing, atmospheric come-down to finish the album off. I wish there were more albums like this, but as yet I've only heard the one.