The Beta Band – Heroes to Zeros

September 30th, 2004
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Heroes Who Retire Too Early

In recording Heroes to Zeros, The Beta Band has accomplished something quite rare – they have created an album with which they are satisfied. Perhaps it is simply because this time around, the notorious self-deprecators are their own producers. Whatever the reason, the result is an album that is more structured, accessible, and aggressive than their previous releases. It also enjoys a finer balance of the band’s instrumentation and their affinity for electronic compliments. Ironically, after creating a sound that they are happy with, the Scottish foursome has called it quits, declaring Heroes to be their final album. It is interesting to note that when given full control over their music, The Beta Band creates their poppiest project. Luckily, in their effort to refine their sound, the band never completely siphons off their endearing creativity. Though the rudderless “Wonderful” and “Troubles” cause Heroes to sag in the middle, the following romping, dog-bark sampling “Out-Side” almost redeems the sore spots on the album. Along with the hauntingly drifting “Lion Thief,” “Out-Side” stands as what could be expected from The Beta Band’s future endeavors had they not thrown in the towel.

With Heroes, The Beta Band may alienate some fans who cling to the zaniness and lack of structure that characterized Hot Shots II, their self-titled album, and even The Three EPs. Consequently, it is sad that the band is ending with Heroes, because it sounds as if they are one album short of combining their newfound refinement with their tried and proven ingenuity.

By Ari Levitch Posted in Reviews