Release Date: May 4, 2004
Record label: Astralwerks
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
The Beta Band have rarely pronounced themselves happy with their own work, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it's usually quite good. (Once, the public sniping began before an album had even appeared in the stores.) From all reports, Heroes to Zeros, their first complete self-production since reaching a major label, has finally contented the group. And though they've succeeded in their attempts to make their music more direct and compact, the album is still clearly the work of the same methodically shambolic Beta Band of old -- the perfect balance of straight-ahead and ahead-of-the-curve.
On Simple, the penultimate track on the Beta Band's third album, Steve Mason glumly croons: "I tried to do my own thing but the trouble with your own thing is you end up on your own." Is he trying to tell us something? When The Beta Band first appeared, they were so fearsomely original that they seemed unstoppable. But thanks to a perversely abstruse debut album, a sour-faced public persona and an inability to score a hit, their star has faded. Despite recent talk of finally cracking the mainstream, Heroes To Zeros lacks the firepower.