I’ve pointed out elsewhere that Beaty Heart are big fans of the drum but it seems they are also fans of the chanted vocal. This is the sound of guys who like to get everyone together to have a good time. There sound is loose and care free, dreamy and light. There is also a lot going on, ideas simmer, boil up and move. Forward, and on to the next idea. The antithesis of the hippy drum circle: less serious, more fun. Fewer acai berry and seaweed soy shakes, more beers!
Slushpuppy switches from pounding drum circle rhythms to a cacophony of snapping clicks as drumsticks rattle on drum rims, bass lines bubble up from behind the swirl, extra backing vocals burst on to the scene, instruments and looped samples fade in and out, it really is a shifting sands of a song. Cola is a more mellow affair, like floating down a river, looking up at the through arched tree branches, sun dappled face, it all suddenly ends with a vocal sample that makes you feel like you’ve actually just woken up in a bus station in Mexico. We’re All Friends here is the weakest track, but only in relative terms, as the shortest it doesn’t feel as if it has the opportunity to develop its ideas as well as the other two tracks.
The whole thing surprisingly isn’t a swamp of fuzzed up lo-fi, which works wonders here, the crispness of the production (which does allow crinkly edges, and blurry drums from time to time) gives enough room for ideas to be introduced and develop. The tracks tend to build in complexity, and it is only through avoiding a swamp of overlapping lo-fi fuzz that you can appreciate the sheer number of ideas they build up to from the start of a track to its culmination.
Is it really so bad to say that one group are reminiscent of another? This won’t be the first time that Beaty Heart are compared to experimental psychedelicists Animal Collective. But being reminded of Merriweather Post Pavilion, to me one of the better phases in Animal Collective’s evolution, is no bad thing surely!? The question that hangs over Beaty Heart is where they go from here? They are definitely capable, entertaining and fun, but can they become singular?!
A version of this post originally appeared on The Fugitive Motel on 21 October 2011.