Record label: 555 Recordings/Darla
Beatnik Filmstars - In Great Shape
by: Dennis T
Since their last CD (Boss Disque) on Merge Records back in 1998, I have felt a massive void in my life. I need a new Beatnik Filmstars record every few months to help fill it. So now they're back with this 23 song masterpiece 'In Great Shape'. The title is there to let us know that after a few personal problems, everything in Beatnik land is back on track.
This album is a scorcher! More pop than rock, but real pop. Often compared to GBV, due to their love of DIY recording style, this album, although has the same feel as earlier Beatnik albums, and a similar style of throw-it-all-in like Alien Lanes (GBV's best), there is so much more going on here, even scratching and loop samples (something GBV would never do). 'Really Quite Bizarre' kicks the album off with a blast of pure guitar fuzz pop energy, and then one by one the songs are flowing thick and fast, occasionally slowing down to give you chance to catch your breath, with such fantastic songs like '...And Here's One I Made Earlier'. The radio would-be (could-be) hit is 'It's Not What You Know', with it's Teenage Fanclub -ish, strummed chiming guitars, and it'll be 'Milkshake' that will have the indie kids shouting "Anybody here need a haircut" at future Beatnik gigs. The lyrics here are often shout out loud funny, sometimes quite sad and thought provoking, but never, not ever bland.
For older fans this album will put a massive smile accross your face. For new never heard of them before types, this is a fine place to start. Along with Belle & Sebastian, this UK band have made one of the best albums you'll hear this year.