Sunday, 1 August 2010

Unknown Music Review 5: Betty and the Werewolves: Teatime Favourites

"I don't want dinner and a movie. I just want someone that'll move me." - Euston Station
(As with many of this series of Unknown Music Reviews I have a connection to someone in this band. That's an inevitable part of the process since many of the pile of CD's that I'm working through have been purchased from friends and acquaintances.

So I happen to be friends with Emily who plays guitar and provides one vocal in the wonderful Betty and the Werewolves. That's the disclosure out of the way.)

Betty and the Werewolves play punk influenced indie pop. They do so very deliciously. I am very much a Fan with a capital F. They've enchanted me ever since I saw them play live last year. It's a sweet pain when you're a musician and you're friend has a great band and great talents. You are pleased, excited and also jealous to fuck. This happens to me far to frequently. And with B&tW I get it the pain and joy in endless waves because they really are terrific.

They have the bouncing danceable beats of the first Futureheads album and that's a good reference point for Teatime Favourites, both albums are perfect for long distance drives in a car or for putting on when everyone gets to the dancing drunk stage of a house party. Both albums have great lyrics and great harmonies, and are filled with energy and distance. Both have lots of tracks (Teatime Favourites has 14 all together) but all of them are short (the album comes in at 39.33). There are some filler tracks (for me) on the album, maybe it could have been chopped down to say 11 or 12, but having said that I suspect the tracks that feel like filler now are more likely to be growers rather than show-ers! Already the last track Hyacinth Girl for example has been worming its way into my heart from a meh, to a mmm.

The album is full of singles and much of it would work as the score of a Tarantino film, with the sort of licks and grooves that infuse his films being the guitar hook in many of the tunes. The two vocalists really compliment each other, dancing around each other with Cranberries style harmonies and occasional melodic shouting. Laura provides a perfect Dubstar/Black Box Recorder style reverberant distance, with Emily providing a warmer touch. There's a Smiths feel to what they do, there's a touch of the early Doves and they have some Buzzcocks syncopation going on.

The band are obviously enjoying themselves and it comes through on the recording. The record captures everything that's great about them live and adds extra resonances. They have great keyboard sounds, fantastic drumming, riffs galore, ace solos and most importantly they have great lyrics, they have darkness, light, fun and games.

I imagine everyone will mention in reviews that they are formed of three women with a man on drums. Which is, of course, both completely irrelevant and absolutely essential to what makes them great.

The band have a distinctive stance and sound. They have some great things to say about the world. And they are hungry for it. And they are doing it now.
"I'm obsessed with a piece of plastic... My plan for the future is to have some pieces sewn into my face" - Plastic
My stand out tracks are: Plastic, Euston Station, Paper Thin, Francis and David Cassidy.

The only real criticism I have is that I don't like the title font used on the front of the album. And I'm not too keen on the video for Paper Thin (though I love the song).

Buy there album it's available from Damaged Goods. You can also find them on Itunes and Twitter and Spotify and Last FM and Facebook and probably on the radio right now!!!

Betty and the Werewolves - live - 2 of 3 from Joseph O Hughes on Vimeo.

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