Sunday, August 26, 2007

CD Review: VHS or Beta's "Bring on the Comets"

Louisville's VHS or Beta releases their latest CD Bring on the Comets on Tuesday, August 28th. I had the good fortune to snag a pre-release of the disc and get an early listen.

Much like the band's first full-length Night on Fire deviated from their self-released EP Le Funk, their latest offering is considerably different from either of the previous two.

VHS or Beta teases you with the 1-minute opener "Euglama" -- giving you a taste of Le Funk and Night on Fire -- only to reveal that it's all just a tease as it fades into oblivion, the sound never to be heard on Bring on the Comets again. Don't get me wrong -- the CD has definite shades of VHS or Beta, but its deviation is dramatic enough that it may turn off current fans of the band who may be expecting more of the same.

I won't go on to comment on all the songs -- most have a difficult time standing out, not at all helped by Craig Pfunder's bland vocals -- but I will single out two that I think may hold their own.

First, the single "Can't Believe a Single Word." A snappy tune that sounds like it should be sung by The Archies -- complete with an animated Betty chinging along on her Filmation tambourine. I like this song and I hope it goes somewhere. It has an original edge to it and I'm glad that it's getting radio airplay (at least here in Columbus).

The other song is the one immediately following: "Burn It All Down." On an initial listening, it's lyrically disturbing, but musically simple, straightforward, and possibly the most similar to their previous CD. Sounding much like a progressive early-90's B-side throwback, the song catches on and becomes a standout.

Ultimately though, Bring on the Comets comes off as VHS or Beta's attempt at the mainstream and, in so doing, the band's uniqueness is lost.

If you've had the opportunity to hear the CD yourself and have another opinion, leave a comment! I'd be interested in hearing what others have to say about this new release.

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