Let It Beet
[Bluffington Records; 2010]
Listening to the most recent neo-revivalist effort of these four Dionysian lads from Liverpool, Let It Beet, I was reminded of my years in grad school at Vassar. It was the fall of ’07, and I was at the very nadir of my post-modern ennui. Starbucks had just raised the price of Caffe Mistos, my parents refused to buy me the horn-rimmed glasses I had pined for all summer, and Radiohead hadn’t released an album in four years. Life was at its worst. But then, a shining beacon of hope, a brilliant starlight of repressed passion, forced itself upon me, and I was anew again: Animal Collective had announced their tour dates for the year. I was to see them in Denver, and it would be good. I felt kind of like that after listening to the new Beets album.
The first track on the album, the REM-meets-Blue Oyster Cult jangle-pop stomper “Killer Tofu,” is a commentary on the industrialization of American agriculture and the almost paradoxical repugnance and allure of life as an outcast. The song really punches you in the gut, like finding out that your girlfriend has been sleeping with that douche bag in her Econ class. When Monroe Yoder sings, “I always thought I was such a nerd/ I refused to touch that strange bean curd/ I wouldn’t eat it/ But it ate you,” he sings to the confusion and self-contempt every man feels after his girlfriend of four years dumps him at a Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
But the album doesn’t really rip into its most visceral until it gets to the duo of “Where’s My Sock?” and “I Need More Allowance.” The genius of “Where’s My Sock?” isn’t its Talking Heads by-way-of the B52’s rhythm or its strangled, petulant vocals, but in the way it demands the question, like how I demanded, “Why, Rebecca, WHY?!” The Sock in the song is a metaphor for everything—happiness, money, sex, a stable relationship where I can trust the girl I’ve always loved, drugs, spiritual understanding, and quality footwear. This, along with the proto-metal “Allowance,” parodies and embraces the instant gratification and consumerism of our time.
Unfortunately, like most of my encounters with the fairer sex, this album ends in disappointment, impotency, and shame. Let It Beet starts out making passionate love to you and cooking dinner on Wednesdays, but before long, it’s ignoring your calls and transferring to NYU. And like all music nowadays, the album is annoyingly derivative, an ersatz take on Pavement and the Pixies. Still, Let It Beet was great, and I’ll always remember the good times we had walking in the park and drinking Caffe Mistos and REBECCA YOU ARE THE LOVE OF MY LIFE PLEASE COME BACK.