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Heroes to Zeros Import
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Top Customer Reviews
What it is is a handful of catchy pop tunes and a bunch of inoffensive filler. Much of the album is "pretty," even delicate, with memorable-enough melodies and carefully arranged vocal harmonies on songs such as Assessment, Wonderful and Simple--tracks that sound like the Beatles colliding with the Stone Roses (and I can hardly pay a higher compliment). You can also hear a lot of Radiohead in H to Z--another laudable influence. Unfortunately, the album doesn't sound like The Beta Band. Put another way--this is a highly derivative record.
And that's an odd career move considering The Beta Band already had a cool sound of its own. Missing from H to Z is the weird energy of the band's earlier work--the highly textured sampling, the complexity of instrumentation, the humor, the arrogance--in other words, the originality. There's nothing here to equal the deceptively simple, trance-like beauty of Inner Meet Me or the sloppy genius of Round the Bend and It's Not Too Beautiful. The band just doesn't seem to be taking any chances or want to risk making a fool out of itself, and it shows. Even H to Z's one- and two-word song titles suggest a newfound conservatism, a self-editing move that speaks volumes.
Call it maturity (or God forbid, sobriety) if you like, I'd prefer to think of it as a detour. Hopefully they'll get sick of this safe, almost radio-friendly stuff, this Beta Band-lite, and return to form next time.
"Wonderful" sounds downright "Meddle"-esque, a nice nod to "San Tropez" and "Seamus." "Out-Side" is the ultimate pounding, driving-home-from-work-on-a-Friday-afternoon tune. "Space Beatle" is the sound of a crush in the best and worst sense of the word. I'm not sure what "Rhododendron" is but I love it. And I never would've thought a power-ballad called "Liquid Bird" would be something I could take seriously; but I can.
Anyways ... I'm liking this album a lot. It has a more upbeat vibe than Hot Shots II and a more textured sound to my untrained ear (perhaps this is the dreaded "production" the indie music gods frown upon? Well then, whatever). Some highlights for me: "Space" will stick in your head and even affect your speech patterns, more or less. "Troubles" has a classic elliptical Beta Band melody that will lift you up, spin you around, and set you down gently again. "Wonderful" and "Pure For" are ideal gooey, mushy songs for me and my gooey, mushy girl to get gooey and mushy together to. A little more sincerely ... "Pure For" is one of the best album closers I've heard in a long time, with it's slow atmospheric build, driving base and beat, and catchy refrain. This album will be a staple on my summer road trips, hope you have the chance to enjoy it too.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a band that may be losing it rapidly, which is OK cuz at least they made one great record. It wasn't this one: I don't get the very favorable respose to this album. Read morePublished on July 19 2004 by Noel Pratt
The Beta Band made a splash in the late 1990s with their EPs. These recordings were mentioned in the film High Fidelity. For a while The Beta Band was the cool name to drop. Read morePublished on July 5 2004 by alexander laurence
......This BB album, H to Z, is the chill-out record.....
Well, what I know is that I am extremely satisfied with the simple notification that this is unique-er than if they... Read more
I have to admit, that I foind out about this band from that John Cusack movie, yes you all know it. I fell in love at first listen. Read morePublished on June 25 2004 by Argyllsox
I really wanted to like this CD...After hearing Assessment blasted over the speakers at BestBuy- I bought this blind based on that song alone-bad choice... Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by celticgypsy
The die hard fans out there are bound to cite the "3Ep's" and the "Self Titled" album as THE BEST Beta Band albums, and I would definitely agree. Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by pacifikix
Unlike many of the contributors here I had no preconceived notion of what The Beta Band should sound like. Read morePublished on June 4 2004 by Lance S Davis
This album is simply a complete letdown.
It doesn't have any kind of lasting power that THREE EPS or BETA BAND or even HOT SHOTS II and KING BISCUIT TIME do. Read more
I think maybe the Beta Band is simply a spent force. This CD has so much filler and weak music that it is not worth the price. Read morePublished on June 1 2004 by Matthew E. Taylor