England - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 28 - 01/31/99
The prodigal (?) sons of Bristol, England rocks on. I guess they're more beatniks than film-stars,
with their scrambling alternative and frantic pop. After a line of recordings they still seem to be
pleased with being on American labels, and yet again, like with In Hospitalable (1997), it's
the super-dooper Merge label that deliver the disc, Boss Disque.
Since last time they've become one less, which means they're down to a quartet, after the departure
of Tim Rippington. Andrew Jarrett and John Austin have written all the songs, accompanied by Tom Adams
and Jeremy "Jez" Francis. About who plays what, I know nothing, since there aren't much credits on the
sleeve. If they're sparse on information, they're quite more big spending on the creative and
quantitative side. Boss Disque presents 22 (!) tracks (even more than last album), but a lot of
the songs are really short and concise, which means less than 3, and even less than 2 minutes. The record
starts with the laid-back song Nature of Things (Sick Leave Scamps), which is Beatnik Filmstars at
the most relaxed. Followed by Hairstyle of A Smug Bastard, which is more like Pavement, or Number
One Cup, some years ago. In the next moment they speed up and rock on with the real cool third song
Less Than One in Ten. Cocky and up-tempo like Superchunk ca. 1990. The quiet Our Eyes Have Rays
has got some weird echoed and distorted vocals, and is a fine example of the strange brew Beatnik Filmstars
serve us. They can be bouncy and noisy, they creep and crawl and squeal and squawk, for then to be really
nice and kind in a off-key way. Lots of variations, improvisations and musical U-turns. They're incredible
unpredictable, with artistic and anarchistic rhythms thrown at you from different angles.
Beatnik Filmstars sound more like American Alternative than British Indie, but it's obvious they must've picked up
some inspiration from late 70's British post-punk, like The Fall and Wire. Maybe they should've slimmed the
album a bit, but then again, you'll find some new details every time you put on the record. Check out songs
like Let's Get Entertainment, Try Some To See, Romance's Final Image, I Can Tame Lions,
or His Part In the Death of a Lottery Winner, and you'll find a lot of catchy songs with cocky and funny
lyrics. Yes, they're beatniks for sure.
You can send Beatmail and ask for details to: Box 788, Bristol, BS99 1SF England.
Copyright © 1999 Håvard Oppøyen