How many drummers does it take to form a band? In the case of Beaty
Heart the answer may surprise you.
If having three out of a potential four members devoted to percussion
sounds like a recipe for disaster,
prepare to be surprised, because the quartet’s debut is a breathless and
buoyant record that jangles with rich guitars,
complex rhythms and falsetto harmonies.
It owes an undeniably huge debt to the music of Africa, but filters this through a myriad of styles,
bounding from reverb soaked psychedelia (‘Kanute’s Coming Round’) and
expansive off-kilter art pop (‘Get The Gurls’) to squelchy ambiance (‘Opal
Shred’) all at a breakneck pace,
although it’s the LP’s more subdued tracks that garner the best results;
the enchanting undulation of ‘Kinder’ or ‘Muti’ with its twinkling piano
being particular standouts.
This musical salmagundi is a hectic and unexpected mix that, while on
occasion threatens to overwhelm,
manages stay on course by sheer virtue of charisma, crafting a debut
that shimmers with youth and exuberance.
The trusting friendship between the band and Upset The Rhythm had been forged by that impressively plugged label of Andy’s and James’, Sex Is
It had served them well and soon bands and friends of the imprint (PENS, Male Bonding, Mazes, Cold Pumas) continued to propel Teen Sheikhs
onto noisy bills in noisy venues.
However lofty their influence though, mates can only get you so far in the music game, just ask Jonathan Wilkes.
Luckily, Teen Sheikhs never really needed a hand; tracks like the scuzzy ‘Cracked’
coming on like No Age played through a child’s broken tape deck overshadowing many the band have played alongside.
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