Release Date: Oct 24, 2011
Record label: Hardly Art
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi
Earlier this year, in an interview published shortly after the release of Stay Home, Beets principles Juan Wauters and Jose Garcia revealed that the writing for their next album had already been completed. This is far from a surprising development in the world of garage-rock, where most bands worth their weight in Nuggets compilations are prone (or, at the very least, prepared) to release two albums, five 7" and 12" singles, and maybe even a tour-only cassette as a forget-me-not in the span of about nine months. Being prolific is not a minor miracle in garage so much as it is muscle memory; the defining trait of this style of music is that it's not incredibly difficult to compose.
It’s telling that for their second album, Queens, N.Y.’s The Beets chose Stay Home as a title, both alluding to and contradicting their self-proclaimed idols The Ramones. Likewise The Beets’ lo-fi recording aesthetic and shambolic approach to playing and singing suggests any number of ragged garage bands schooled by punk and any other assortment of rock oddities. Comparisons to bands like Thee Oh Sees and, obviously, The Ramones, hum around The Beets like fruit flies, without giving credence to the band’s role as sly contrarians and willful outsiders.
Within the first few seconds of “You Don’t Want Kids to Be Dead”, it’s clear that The Beets’ move to Hardly Art hasn’t drastically changed their sound. The familiar guitar jangle established by the Ramones-loving New York band on their previous albums, Spit in the Face of People Who Don’t Want to Be Cool and Stay Home, is fully intact, as is singer Juan Wauters’ seemingly carefree lyrics. Let the Poison Out finds him sounding clearer than ever, while the music is a pleasing variation on the formula they’ve been working toward perfecting since the beginning.
Barely nine months after the release of playfully primitive Stay Home, the Beets are back with another full-length, and their Hardly Art debut, Let the Poison Out. Paying homage to one of their idols, outspoken radio personality Howard Stern, in title -- a reference to a suggestive catch phrase that stemmed from the on-air sampling of an adult novelty -- and in artwork by Matthew Volz, the record delivers appropriately silly, eccentric, lo-fi pop. Recorded with Gary Olson of the Ladybug Transistor, the band strikes a balance between taking a more polished approach than their previous releases while maintaining the raw, live-energy feeling that comes to them so naturally.
The ink spilled on the Beets so far has included words like “primitive, simple, amateurish,” but these should be followed by the phrase “in the best way possible.” The group’s latest effort, Let The Poison Out, falls back on the same bare fundamentals as its past two LPs but with some marked improvements in quality and style. The album features the same drive of jangly Spanish guitar, thumping bass drum and toms in a pop framework. Bass guitar is deceptively simple but lends the strength of a good backbone to the tracks.