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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Hot Shots II

The Beta Band

2001

Buy At Rough Trade
Hot Shots II
Album Summary

Hot Shots II is the second studio album by the Scottish musical group The Beta Band, released on 16 July 2001. Colin "C-Swing" Emmanuel and the band co-produced the album. The band's previous work had used dense experimentation but Hot Shots II had a minimal style influenced by R&B, hip hop and electronica. Pitchfork placed Hot Shots II at number 118 on its list of top 200 albums of the 2000s. The album is also included in the 2010 edition of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Kludge ranked it at number 1 on its list of top 10 albums of 2001.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.03

Votes

9879

Genres

  • Rock
  • Electronica

Reviews

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Tue Sep 12 2023
4

I had mixed feelings about this one throughout the listening experience. At times I was absolutely absorbed by the beautifully balanced complexity in the way that the songs are built. At other times, I was annoyed by what seems like willful weirdness designed to disrupt the listener's flow. In the end, I think I fall on the side of enjoying and appreciating the work that was put into this album. It was clearly a labor of love and I think that labor paid off. It's a really interesting and compelling album even if it's not something I'd turn to as a day-to-day jam.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
2

More like Hot Shits, am I right? [rimshot] (Sigh)

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Fri Aug 25 2023
3

Occasionally great, occasional meh. Straight down the middle for me.

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Wed Feb 14 2024
3

Yet another band that I've never heard of. Not sure their music ever crossed the Atlantic. I thought this was fine but nothing special. Too many like this are on the list.

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Thu Sep 14 2023
2

Crap band name. Shit cover. But, credit to the recording engineer; it's difficult to get a good quality of sound when the vocalist's head is so far up his own arse. Good job.

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Sat Aug 19 2023
3

I’ve never heard of The Beta Band before. The band name is a little funny, it makes me giggle that they chose Beta. Yet again, Apple Music lists them as alternative which doesn’t really tell me anything. I’m hopeful for a good listen today. It’s been a really odd week for me and I need something nice. Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Squares This was pretty decent. The music was generally chilled and easy to listen to. I did find the vocals a bit boring and droning at times, but it wasn’t TOO bad. I’m unsurprised to read the band are Scottish, or that this album was released in the early noughties - you can definitely hear the influence that Britpop had here, despite not sounding fully Britpop themselves. Overall, this was an ok album. I can’t really give it any better praise than that, but it also certainly wasn’t bad.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
3

Hot Shots II has crystallised impressions I had about turn of the century indie rock trends into notions. Rock-electronica-hip-hop fusion mostly pasted generic sounds over mediocre songs, bands reaching for ‘Revolver’ and making ‘The Birdie Song’. This is somewhere in the middle of the pack. The underlying songs are decent and distinct, the production is mildly distracting novelty. Turn-of-the-century ethereal wistfulness is here, a trend I never noticed and now feel nostalgia for on return: the post-9/11 horror show slapped away this strand of dreamy, sad pop. Mercury Rev’s Deserters Songs is a highlight that Simon and I shared, and a similar sort of sonically expansive, lyrically contemplative music here comes through squinted ears. The song’s themselves are well-crafted with stick and structures that caught me off-guard without losing me. The title’s clever-stupid humour displays a then-modish, self-deprecating-but-fuck-you-not-really attitude that I don’t miss. I like this more than I expected to, a piece of a period that I don’t mind revisiting.

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Fri Sep 08 2023
2

Wimpy is how I would describe it. Like it felt like it never left first gear.

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Thu Sep 14 2023
2

My first impression is that this reminds me a lot of Beck or early Gorillaz. Some spacey hip-hop/electronic sounds, so I guess this would technically be in the genre of trip-hop? idk. I couldn't really get into the vocals. Very melodramatic and pretentious. And that album cover is horrid.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
2

A real snooze-fest. Like many aspiring hipsters I grabbed a copy of The 3 EPs on the back of music paper hype, and was sorely disappointed apart from about 3 tracks. Looks like their later career followed a similar pattern. Steve Mason's voice gets pretty annoying with so little going on behind it. Nevertheless, I am glad we got this as it clears up a Mandela Effect for me: I remember a decent tune that sampled "Daydream" around 2001, much better than "Squares" on here but I've never cared enough to dig further. Turns out it was I Monster's "Daydream In Blue", and is far superior! Furthermore, the ubiquitous "Ike's Rap II" sample underpinning seemingly half of contemporary music was originally inspired by the Wallace Collection original. Fun fact: the actual Wallace Collection is in Manchester Square, London - opposite the EMI building that framed the famous Beatles Red/Blue photos and hosted the stockroom from whence my 3 EPs copy was swiped. Time is a flat circle, dude

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Fri Feb 02 2024
2

I've already forgotten this, yawn.

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Tue Sep 05 2023
5

If anal fingering was a sport, this record would be the world champion.

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Tue Sep 05 2023
5

One of the best live bands i've ever seen. at one point they had two drum kits being played by 4 people and it somehow sounded brilliant and nowhere near as ridiculous as the concept of 4 drummers on two kits sounds. i also saw the aliens headline the park stage at glasonbury and that was up there as one of my best festival gigs ever too. can't help but think they were in the wrong era, bands that do similar things to them these days appear to be much bigger than the beta band ever got to.

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Wed Nov 01 2023
5

Hot Shots II has always been a favorite of mine. It's like a perfectly smooth surface with small intereting kinks and imperfections that become obvious the more you zoom in. I can easily listen to this one on repeat. Does it deserve a place on the list? It's a tough call but I do think there's something unique here, even compared to their contemporaries, like Beck, Four Tet, or Caribou.

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Mon Nov 06 2023
5

Excellent trippy sound. Definitely listen more and more

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Sun Nov 19 2023
5

I was thoroughly impressed with this, as I expected a very different sound, but the laid-back energy and downtempo drones here actually compliment each other quite well.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
5

Is squares the origins of I fell asleep among the flowers for a couple of hours, or was that a sample here too? Regardless, smooth, fun, groovy, dancable, very cool.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

LOVED this one. Listened to it twice while I was in the kitchen. The vibe is very good, relaxed, but still interesting.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

I don't know how I missed The Beta Band, but this is impressive. This is the first time I've wanted to dive into an artist further!

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

The Beta Band is new to me. The first time through I enjoyed a lot of this, but on the second listen its unique properties really started to blossom and I discovered many interesting moments that cohere well into very enjoyable music. Very good!

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

Hooray! After a week of 2s and 3s, finally something that sings to me again! I guess I know the song Squares because of Six Feet Under? The rest was unfamiliar but I really dig this folktronica business. Listened twice and am tempted to start it once more. Really really good.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

Something new and appealing to my ears! For about half the album I was enjoying it, but I wasn’t sure if it was a 5 or just a nice 4. Then it broke through.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

Wow wow wow! An album and group I'd never heard of, but it was simply music that I loved listening to today! No having to think about it or look for the artistry or look for the message or the relevance or whatever, but just really lovely stuff all around!

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Fri Feb 02 2024
5

LOVED this album. Very novel listening experience and even when the artistic choices were odd it was a lot of fun. The harmonies on Al Sharp slapped.

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Fri Feb 09 2024
5

I didn't expect to like this but it's really great!

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Fri Feb 16 2024
5

This is a good vibe, not something I've heard before. I dig it.

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Sat Mar 09 2024
5

10/10 wtf this is so good, how have I never heard of this before

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Fri May 03 2024
5

The album cover is nothing like what I thought this was going to sound like. I love the beta band!

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Thu May 23 2024
5

This is my introduction to the Beta Band and the first listen made me straight want to go to a second. And third. So this album has been on at any opportunity I could find. With headphones, in the car, or just my home stereo. And with every listen another layer in a different song makes itself known, which was even more surprising since it seemed like a bit toned down indie electro at the start with some trip-hop influences. But there's so much more to it than I thought. I will be playing this a lot on the coming months and it might slowly make its way into my favourite albums. What a discovery! 4,5*

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Tue Aug 22 2023
4

The Beta Band got an endorsement from the main character in High Fidelity and that is good enough for me.

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Sun Sep 03 2023
4

M’a fait penser parfois aux Beatles, parfois à Air. Curieux et imprévisible, même si semble convenu au premier abord

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Thu Sep 21 2023
4

interesting and different, thought it was from the 60's originally.

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Wed Sep 27 2023
4

L'originalitat de la seva proposta està fora de dubte. Folk, psicodèlia, indie pop, rock... tot barrejat d'una forma molt propia i original. Mai van donar un pas més enllà de la foscor, però els seus tres discos, especialment aquest, mereixen un petit podi dins les millors joies ocultes de començaments de mil.leni

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Mon Oct 16 2023
4

pretty cool, i like that's a bit different. loved it in high fidelity

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Tue Oct 24 2023
4

I loved the soundtrack feel and instrument experimentation.

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Sun Oct 29 2023
4

FANTASTIC electronic psych rock. Grabs on and doesn't let go.

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Mon Oct 30 2023
4

wild and crazy, but darn good. 4 stars.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
4

I really like this album. Though, like the XX, I sort of feel like this is the only album by this band I need. It scratches that itch.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
4

first listen very interesting vibe

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Thu Nov 16 2023
4

I like this! I wonder who did the sample on the first track, Squares. I love every song I hear that “daydream” sample in, so I will have to look into the original song. But I like this sound. “Folktronica” as I read on Wikipedia. Definitely some rock and country influences too. I’m here for it.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
4

I like to discover albums by bands I have never heard of before. I really liked this trippy electronic and rockish album, very different and fresh. I will definitely come back to this later.

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Fri Nov 17 2023
4

this album was pretty cool and i enjoyed listening to it. I'm not sure how "iconic" it is or anything, but it definitely fits the early 2000s vibe of up-and-coming alt/indie rock music i remember. maybe there's a world where these dudes hit it big instead of the killers or lcd soundsystem or something. squares is a jam and the other tracks are fine to good imo. definitely some weird and trippy stuff on here though. favorites: squares, al sharp, human being, gone, eclipse

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Thu Nov 23 2023
4

I had never heard of this or the band before. I liked it. Such a great choice for this project. Catchy songs, well performed. I would have loved a bit more treble in the mix, though, as I felt like there was gauze over the whole proceeding. Other than that, this was solid.

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Thu Nov 23 2023
4

I first became aware of the beta band when Jack Black’s character in the movie High, Fidelity played one of their records i(Dry the Rain) n the fictional record store. I really liked this album, it had a very peaceful energy. If you’ve ever seen the movie High Fidelity, or read the book, or watched the recent Hulu series I recommend them all.

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Thu Nov 23 2023
4

With that cover and album name, Bot Shots II - it feels like this is gonna be a spoof or a parody. Is this really Weird Al Yankovic playing a trick? But the music is nothing like that; it’s curious and odd and dreamy. You kind of go on this mystery journey where you feel slightly airborne. There’s nothing quite solid underneath you. Your arms flail a little, but it’s still a great ride. The fact that they sample Daydream in Blue on the first track, that alone signifies you’re in for a mindbending experience. The emotional obsession in Daydream in Blue becomes a hazy, harmless fairground ride. Enjoy it.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
4

Like if The Beach Boys had a baby with Massive Attack.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
4

Mostly dug this. Rounding up

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Tue Nov 28 2023
4

This album is a strangely smooth listen, given that I can't remember any of the songs. But for some reason or another, it pulled me right in. 3.5/5

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Sun Dec 17 2023
4

Very cool vibe, interesting sound

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Wed Dec 27 2023
4

I like the more electronic tracks. Some interesting moments like Dragon with its repetitive melody and glitchy beats. Broke goes further into weird sounds and percussion. There's a lot going on here but I want to listen to it more.

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Thu Dec 28 2023
4

Not bad this can be added to the listen again pile

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Wed Jan 03 2024
4

This album I have no idea why it is in anyone's list of albums to listen before they die. I mean, I get it... you wanna create an album that sounds like nothing else? But that doesn't mean you allow yourself to create an album that is so hit and miss... the repetitive lyrics. The lack of flow this has is outstanding and I get it... you wanna make it arty and you want to stand out? I dunno, unless you're really into your Manchester sound, brit/ scot pop and you can delineate between the nuances? It finds itself in an incredibly hard spot to engage with a new listener. Don't get me wrong? it has its moments when it slides into that trip hop aesthetic and there is some genuinely good moments but then there's a fair amount of drop off. I just believe and I wish I could get on it's level because I do appreciate "art for art sake" style records. This one just has moments and then it has other moments. But it isn't something I wouldn't revisit later on, because I know there is stuff there I just haven't cracked the code completely. So because of that revisit factor? I am going 1 star higher than middle of the road.

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Wed Jan 03 2024
4

Despite what the album art and name may suggest, this is a very calm album. Nice relaxing jams to throw on while working or driving. Not too repetitive, good production, just solid all around.

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Thu Jan 04 2024
4

Wow! Super impressed with this album. It had a style that clicks with me and I’m sad that I have never heard of them before. Really reminds me of my friend Jon Burgoyne’s band and maybe that’s why they clicked with me. First band that I’ve wanted to download more of their music after hearing it. Good album! 4.5/5

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Fri Jan 12 2024
4

Good dynamics, subwoofers got a workout

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Mon Jan 15 2024
4

Another great find, I had heard a few of these songs but the entire album is great!

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Fri Jan 19 2024
4

A trip-hop album I have never heard of, but have heard the opening track sampled countless times. Really chill, interesting sounds on this album. Being released in 2001, I don't think they were the first to break ground into this vibe, but they executed well. I enjoyed the electronics and the production on this one. Lyrics are entertaining and often humourous which also struck a chord with me. Great discovery! Fun album. Fave tracks: Squares, Broke, Quiet, Eclipse

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Fri Jan 19 2024
4

Easy pop listening, and a new discovery for me!

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Fri Jan 19 2024
4

Sounded like an early Alt-J demo's album. Didn't quite have enough to keep it interesting right to the end unfortunately. Favourite song: Al Sharp

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Sun Jan 21 2024
4

This album was my kind of jam.

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Thu Jan 25 2024
4

Very good. Surprising experience when realising that the first song of the album is identical to Daydream in blue by I, Monster to then realise that the original song is from a 70s choir band.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
4

I'm enjoying this album. That first track was smoked in a Lupe Fiasco song.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
4

The Beta Band is forever linked in my mind with the scene in High Fidelity, "I will now sell 5 copies of The Three EPs by the Beta Band" and the record store just grooves. I get that same head nod on the needle drop feeling with the opening track of Hot Shots II: Squares. This is not a band who I listen to frequently or whose music I've bought despite the convincing nature of the scene in the movie. And yet, every time I listen to them I am nodding along and enjoying the music. They have a pleasing quality that's hard to dislike. There's a smooth groove and likable space-folk quality that is perfect for picking up every now and again. In terms of the album's music, whether a song be more spacey or folky matters less in my enjoyment, ultimately I appreciate the songs most when they privilege the pulse.

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Fri Feb 02 2024
4

Experimental, pretty strange, but seemingly well ahead of its time. I enjoyed the listen, but I’m not sure it’s something I’ll come back to.

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Sun Feb 18 2024
4

Cool stuff. Again, I question how essential this is, but cool stuff. 3.5/5

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

I thought this was unique and an experimental success. The singing is strange enough, but never annoying. It’s got that boundary pushing pop that we are used to from the post-Beatles pop bands, but it adds a sort of funkiness to the mix, which serves to make some real strong vibe music. I enjoyed it.

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Thu Feb 22 2024
4

Enjoyed it, I remember this from back in the day and knew a couple of songs, which were probably singles. Was nice to listen to it again.

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Sun Feb 25 2024
4

This album had a cool vibe, but it wasn’t particularly memorable.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
4

I have never heard of them or any of these songs but they are pretty good. I will definitely listen to this again.

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Tue Mar 05 2024
4

In short, this album is probably one of my favorites so far. The rankings don’t lie, though, and the closing track “Eclipse” sounds rushed and rambled both lyrically and vocally. I do love the opener “Squares” and how vibey it sounds. You also can’t go wrong with the sudden change in “Dragon”, though. This album rightfully deserves a 4.4/5, or an 88% (88/100). Fav: “Dragon”, “Squares” Least Fav: “Eclipse”

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Wed Mar 06 2024
4

Having had The Three EP's wound tight on my conscious and reading that the first proper album was a difficult puzzle best left neglected, it's now time to dive into Hot Shots II. While not as memorable as the former and not as eclectic as the latter, The Beta Band's second album is still worth plenty of time savoring; they've taken (and were given) the time to weave their tapestry as they saw fit with little to no room for perceived and evidently regrettable mistakes. I now see why The Beta Band's felt the need to recon and regroup to the best of their abilities here and I feel that it has paid off, even if the story of the band doesn't last long. Favorites: Squares, Al Sharp, Human Being, Dragon, Broke, Quiet, Alleged, Eclipse.

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Fri Mar 08 2024
4

Beta Band is dope. Underrated. It's kind of ignorable music, but really good ignorable music. Like, I could put it on while I was reading or something and it wouldn't be distracting, but if I paid attention to it I would still be into it. If that makes sense.

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Tue Mar 12 2024
4

2001, Electronic Rock Second studio album by the Beta Band (Scotland) Singles: ----------------------------------------- Broke / Won (July 2001) (UK No. 30) Human Being (October 2001) (UK No. 57) Squares (February 2002) (UK No. 42) Standouts: Squares, Won Others: Al Sharp, , Eclipse, Human Being, Life, Broke "Squares" uses lyrics from "Daydream" by the Lovin' Spoonful really well. The sound is perfect. "Human Being" contains samples from Carole King's "It's Too Late" "Won" contains lyrics from "one" by Harry Nilsson (made popular by Three Dog Night). 3.75

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Thu Mar 14 2024
4

Mellow and unhurried, interesting/different but also highly listenable. Radiohead run through a heavy Brian Eno filter or Pink Floyd on valium. Very worth hearing, and inspirational in the sense of one will explore more Beta.

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Thu Mar 21 2024
4

Um álbum estranho, meio experimental e difícil de descrever, e a experiencia depende muito do momento que voce ouve ele, mas me diverti bastante Fav tracks: Squares, Human Being, Broke, Quiet, Alleged, Life Least fav track: Gone

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Fri Mar 22 2024
4

Doesn't quite reach the peaks of The Three EPs but still a chill listen.

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Wed Mar 27 2024
4

Quite a charming combination of 1970's and 2000's rock. I love how strangely familiar yet fresh it is.

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Wed Apr 03 2024
4

I've never listened to The Beta Band. Not bad! Like a precursor to Alt-J. Pretty minimal folkpoptronica.

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Thu Apr 18 2024
4

Cool electro infused rock with industrial undertones

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Mon Apr 22 2024
4

This definitely shoulda been "The Three EPs" instead, and don't give me any "But it's not an album" nonsense - Dimery bends or ignores that requirement in plenty of other entries! This album is fine, I suppose, but I don't have the same connection with it that I have with "The Three EPs", which transports me instantly back to uni days. I still dig the slacker psych aesthetic... Fave tracks - "Squares" is great, though a band called Skinny also used the same underlying sample for a track, "On a Beautiful Day", in the same year, and theirs is arguably better. Also like "Quiet".

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Mon Apr 22 2024
4

I really enjoyed this. Squares caught my attention immmediately with their version of Daydream which I'd orginally familiar with thanks to I Monster. The rest of the album is great and certainly deserves another listen.

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Wed Apr 24 2024
4

Good fun, a bit dorky but nonetheless a more than decent record.

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Wed Apr 24 2024
4

Another surprise I really enjoyed! The ratings are kinda low on this but it clicked with me! Early Beck mixed with Ram-era McCartney!

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Tue Apr 30 2024
4

Great but tails away at the end

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Wed May 01 2024
4

Good album to chill out to, the Lead singer has a soft and calming voice the album also has some hiphop influences

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Thu May 02 2024
4

Favorite Tracks: Squares Eclipse

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