Straight out of Queens, The Beets strive for a sound 50 years in the making. Taking cues from seminal British Invasion bands, ’60s west coast surf-garage rock and more directly, New York icons such as The Velvets and Television, The Beets’ vintage, garage rock is stripped down, back to the basics retro. The past year saw the band touring behind their 2009 release, Spit In The Face Of People Who Don’t Want To Be Cool, and releasing several singles including, (just so you know where their heads are at) a drunken rendition of “The Locomotion” (yes, the one and only, but without the chart topping results earned by Little Eva, Grand Funk and Kylie). Needless to say, many weren’t quite ready for a band with such a wry sense of humor and a recorded sound that was willfully underproduced.
The band’s sophomore release, Stay Home, picks up where the trio’s previous effort left off. The jangly hooks are still very raw and outweigh any notions of studio amateurism – oddly, it’s what makes The Beets’ sound so charming. “Cold Lips,” kicks the album into full gear with its singalong qualities while “Dead” could be mistaken for a Stones b-side.
Spanning 13 songs with a running time under half an hour, the album isn’t much to dissect. In fact, many songs are about staying home – go figure. “Watching TV” and “Pops N’ Me” are pretty self explanatory. “Hens and Roasters,” meanwhile, is a soft story about isolation: “Now I wanna go back to my head,” sings guitarist/vocalist Juan Wauters and bass player Jose Garcia as they harmonize through the outro as they so often do on the record. When the duo aren’t singing in unison, they often take a few bars to break down in psychedelic Velvets’ inspired freakouts like the “Knock On Wood” outro or the second half of “Your Name Is On My Bones.”
While The Beets approach their music with the type of inspiration that isn’t new – the charm factor and overall sincerely has high appeal. As Spit In The Face… may have shown promise, its fidelity surely lacked, hiding the talent behind a wall fuzz. Stay Home sheds a layer allowing the audience to hear what they’ve been missing – and they have been missing out – and allowing the band to step out of the cult-y, art-house world and into the clubs.