Local Wire

The Beta Band

Have you seen The Wicker Man and 2001: A Space Odyssey? Judging from the Beta Band's music, the Scottish quartet surely has absorbed those cult films' respective pagan-folk and space-trippingly futuristic influences into its sound. The Beta Band's third album proper (self-produced, but mixed by Nigel Godrich) is its most consistently brilliant work since The 3 E.P.'s collection in 1998.

The band has lost some of its just-woke-up-in-the-studio nonchalance, but it still deploys enough quirky percussion, peculiar strings, churchy organ drones and clapping hands to conjure a 21st-century version of Their Satanic Majesties Request. Heroes to Zeros contains some of the Beta Band's most urgently rocking songs, but it's also baroquely psychedelic, without dipping into paisley-infused kitsch. A huge part of the disc's charm is the way Stephen Mason uses his reverbed, green-eyed-soul voice to make banal mantras like "She's so wonderful" sound like stoned profundity.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Dave Segal
Contact: Dave Segal