The Beta Band: Heroes to Zeros

The Beta Band
Heroes to Zeros
(Astralwerks)

The Beta Band, if they play their cards right, may have just created their big breakthrough record. Word on the street for 4-5 years has been “keep your eye on these guys”. I’m a believer. What they have managed to do is make a great pop record. One that could shape a more inspired direction for pop artists everywhere or at least point out that pop music can be inspired. Pop in that it’s dominated by lyrics revolving around relationships; with mankind, with nature and progress and the romantic kind.

Heroes to Zeros finds the Betas at the top of their craft. Previous records were more lo-fi and often songs would go six or seven minutes before reaching its final destination. Those days are over, and that bothers some reviewers. But it’s just the outcome of a band that has honed its skill to damn near perfection. Sure, some of the charm that made the first two releases so indie-appealing has dissipated, but a more potent dose of music has emerged.

The comparison that comes to mind (that I surprisingly haven’t heard yet) is the Police’s Synchronicity. That record somewhat established in the mainstream a better of acceptance of the “new wave” of the time. Thoughtful, interesting music with good hooks that got radio play. I may be unrealistic, but Heroes to Zeros is good enough to make that kind of impact. And what a better world it would be if kids got a chance to hear this instead of what they’re force fed.

Musically the Betas have added a good dose of guitar to their effortless genre-blurring shifts. It opens with “Assessment”, a riff heavy anthem just Coldplay enough to possibly land a hit. Further in “Easy” is a Donovan meets Stevie Wonder gem and “Wonderful” is lovely off-beat love song for the off-beat crowd. “Simple” is a terrific snapshot of the awkwardness of modern social pressures with the line “the trouble with your own thing is you end up on your own”. You need to hear this record.