Norway - Full Moon 42 - 03/20/00
Beatroute was one of the bands stirring the interest at last year's Bylarm (the annual
pop/rock business/talent gathering in Norway). One year later the quartet - Vibeke (vocals),
Mads (guitar), Andreas (bass), and Bård (drums) - has finished the debut album. Andreas
and Bård used to be (early-/mid-90's) in the power-pop-core combo Kung Fu Girls (2 albums
released), but Beatroute is something completely different. Will they be able to raise eyebrows
by showing some warmth and temptation, beyond the rather defensive album title.
Everything's composed, produced and performed by Beatroute (with some additional contributions
from friends and colleagues, such as the horns section from label-mates Jaga Jazzist). Recorded
at their base-camp Bryn Ballroom, Beatroute plays a mixture of airy, hovering pop music.
Sometimes being Stereolab-ish (and/or Snowpony), for then to go into some Dub and Ska breaks,
beats, and rhythms. Anonymous holds both vocal and instrumental (the quirky A Waiters
Nightmare and Il Traditore) songs, with the voice of Vibeke splicing things together.
The vocal sounds life-weary, cool/chilling, almost arrogant, and for me - I'm afraid - a bit
too anonymous most of the time. The best songs are the catchy Chin To Chin, Stairs Into
the Sea, and Tropic of Cancer, which shows Beatroute from their most extrovert side.
I guess this record can be more fitting (and chilling) when summer comes. Right now, when winter
can't decide to step over and let spring get by, the album's coolness just don't fit in. I also
find most of the songs to be what the album title implies, too anonymous. Beatroute's music has
been described as (loosely translated): "Where Prozac stops, Beatroute starts". Well, I don't have
all the answers, but Anonymous could kill off someone's winter depressions. Myself, I'm
holding on to some other cup of tea.
Distribution in Norway: Tuba!
Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen