Cobbling their â€œA Taste of The Beersâ€ from very rough origins, The Beers play a style of rock that is much more solid on the instrumental than the vocal side of issues. With 16 cuts on this album â€œWithheld Informationâ€, the second track really tests listenersâ€™ attention span as it breaks the six minute mark, by far the longest track on the disc. On â€œWithheld Informationâ€, the bass lines are by far the most intricate in any album of the last few years, but the vocals, repetitive almost nullify the massive amount of ground covered by the high art of the bass line. Missing their mark on â€œRoom to Breatheâ€, the instruments on the track morph together into a mess, and the spaced-out vocals, quite as they may be are buried beneath the noise of the instruments. The faster tempo and cleaner sound of the track immediately following â€œRoom to Breatheâ€, â€œNever Be Freeâ€ hints softly at Husker Du and The Replacements influences, as well as a pseudo-chorus that is similar to â€œ53rd & 3rdâ€. Continuing with the under-powered vocals, â€œLight Beerâ€ is a track where anemia is a good descriptor â€“ the track, and I suppose, the disc by extension, could really stand a better mastering. It is not necessarily that the arrangements are bad or even poor by any stretch of the imagination, but the mixing really makes it hard to see the good aspects of The Beers.
With a band that has been around for seventeen years, I would have to really wonder at exactly where they came from the first few years of their existence. It seems to me that a band that has been around for such a long period of time would have made something in the way of strides toward a more solid musical base, but â€œA Taste of The Beersâ€ really feels to me as if the band has miles to go before they sleep. For what it is worth, I see a lot of the out-of-print Bad Religion album, â€œInto the Unknownâ€ in â€œA Taste of The Beersâ€. Both are sprawling albums that while extremely proficient musically suffer seriously from poor mixing and mastering. Where Bad Religion decided to mix their hardcore punk sound with Rush to create something that was incredibly underappreciated, The Beers have mixed a lighter vein of punk (think about the aforementioned Husker Du or The Replacements) with folk music to create their own sound.
Top Tracks: Never Be Free, Chains of Love
The Beers â€“ A Taste of The Beers / 16 Tracks / 2003 Toasted Records Ltd / http://www.members.tripod.com/~jaytee2/beers.html / Reviewed 29 April 2004