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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 41 - 02/19/00

The Beatbandits
I Got Rhythm
Hug Records

A quick look at the 60's style record cover on this debut CD from the Beatbandits, makes it rather obvious that we're dealing with retro stuff. Listing The Who, Cream, Small Faces and Jon Spencer as their influences is not all that original, but learning that the members are all around 20 years old, this warms my heart in these musically direction-less times, when it seems like the computer has morphed its way into the soul of musical creativity. Well, the Beatbandits are a trio from Tønsberg, and have been playing together for more than 7 years (!). Some of these as the reportedly more indie-pop Sliwo (who also released a CD), while as the Beatbandits they have decided to go for the 60's, sounding, and certainly dressing, like a mod revival band.

And this is a consistent and good-sounding album, destined to tickle some ears. The list of artists that falls naturally to compare the The Beatbandits to, could easily be expanded by including Velvet Underground and The Kinks, with The Electric Face even mimicking You Really Got Me, and Here Comes The Beatbandits being very VU-like, with a matching Lou Reed vocal. Other songs are more in a soul vein (A Girl In The Hall and Far From Fine), while the killer gem Satan Edward is a ZZ Top dirt-dusty distorted blues take. The once-great Texans' influence may also be heard on other occasions, I think, at least on the guitar parts. The vocals sound a little forced here and there, and when the singer's vocal style also seems to change slightly from one song to another, it feels like this part of the band's sound hasn't quite settled yet, as opposed to the rest. I mean, when sounding like Lou Reed on one song, John Hiatt on another, and even Paul Di'Anno (!) on a third (The Electric Face), one may suspect that vocalist Peder Bernhardt hasn't arrived at his own style of singing yet. But his guitar-playing is settled on firm ground, alongside the playing of Henrik Width Kristiansen (drums) and Kjell Rune Andersen (bass, and like fellow bass player Geezer Butler, it seems, an avid Aston Villa fan).

Several of the songs are ear-sticky, especially the aforementioned Satan Edward, and to sum it up: Excellent influences, sincere intentions, and a solid and promising result.

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