No One Knows
This one was released earlier in the year, and is another record that I’ve listened to a ton, but just hadn’t gotten around to writing up for reasons x, y, or z. Time to put that behind me. Austin’s BETH ISRAEL have, in their latest album DENTAL DENIAL, released one of the year’s best. I can safely say that this record of theirs, an amalgamation of discordant and weird chord 90s indie rock/pop & psychedelic pop, will withstand the onslaught of releases for the rest of the year and be among the group @ the end of the year that I talking about for a second time. This band and this album creeps into your brain.
A duo with only a s/t cassette to their name prior to this release, their music vibes homemade concoction far more than studio product. I don’t know where the recording work was done, but a 4-track collage feel snakes throughout the entirety of DENTAL DENIAL. This is no song after song deal. Instead each song (there’s 11 here) comes across as a hand crafted and labored over composition. Certainly this is rock music, so please don’t be turned away by my use of the C-word, it’s just that these are not mere rock songs. Songs rock. Songs feel spacious. Songs reek of experimentation. Synthesizers flow. “Dead Bodies” is one of the standouts on this record (unlike most records this one has a good handful, which we’ll get to). Bass and guitar lead the way, telling us we’re in for a jangle pop rock number, but then a hook laden synth pushes its way in, and directs this thing toward a whole indie rock with synths thing that many (myself included) young people jumped up and down for mid-90s. So great. Dark jangle synth pop (I don’t write those words out, in that sequence, very often). Vocals recall Boston underground heroes of the recent past KID ROMANCE.
“Living End” is a more high energy tune, brushing up against a punk or garage rock feel, until you get to the chorus and are treated to an ENO pop high, and then guitar theatrics for the close, and it’s seamless, and sounds timeless, and I am enthused again at this band’s ability to weave together different rock approaches into a singular new plan called BETH ISRAEL. “Family” is yet another standout. What a great record. Psychedelia creeps into the mix on this one with the guitars dripping from the solid (drum machine?) back beat. This track conjures for me direct memories of why I loved the DEVIN, GARY & ROSS record from earlier this year so much. It’s the vocals and the guitar sounds that drive me toward this connection. Another great song yes.
Then we get to “Statue In The Car” and all hell breaks loose. The guitar riff melody is one of my tops of the year it must be said. The interplay between drums, bass, and guitar during these riff sections is some kind of sublime. Easy going, but with enough forward momentum to keep em boppin’. What does this remind me of? I can’t put my finger on it right at the moment, but I know it’s of a classic indie rock nature and that I love it. That doesn’t do too much to help you get get a grip on the track, I know, but literally this song is a straight classic out of the gate. I have played this one for my little baby boy Zachary several times, and you know what? I’m going to continue to do so cuz he loves it. Big time repeat pressing motivation. LOOK BELOW! LISTEN YOURSELF!
DULL TOOLS releases DENTAL DENIAL. The label is run by folks from PARQUET COURTS and they are doing a phenomenal job as far as I’m concerned (check their upcoming release by PC WORSHIP). Our doors @ the Hassle are open to you BETH ISRAEL, in fact we even have a hospital named after you here already, so you’ll be right @ home. Come visit. The rest of you? Check this record out! Jeez