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Beep Beep
Business Casual
Saddle Creek Records
www.ilovebeepbeep.com


So I was sitting at a coffee shop last night, trying rather unsuccessfully to review Saddle Creek newcomers Beep Beep's debut album, Business Casual. It wasn't that I was distracted by my friends who were sitting with me, or that I didn't want to review the album, or even that I didn't know what to say about the album. The problem was that there were too many things to say about the album, and they all seemed to be mutually conflicting. I'd write something harshly critical, then erase it and write something nearly hagiographic, then erase it and write something completely indifferent and sterile. This dissociative disorder of my inner listeners is the culmination of the past couple years' revival of old 70s and 80s musical trends such as new wave, electroclash, disco, and glam, as manifested in bands like Franz Ferdinand, Stellastarr*, the Rapture, the Killers, and Beep Beep's own label-mates, the Faint. In reaction to this trend, my inner music snob disparages them as posers and screams out, "Derivative!" On the other hand, my inner American Bandstand audience member says, "I give it a 9 'cos it has a good beat and it's easy to dance to." Frustrated by my inability to choose sides in the civil war, I voiced my dilemma to my friends, to which one guy brilliantly replied, "Well…doesn't the mere fact that they stir up this conflict say something about their music?" My God. It's nice to meet you, Mr. Einstein.

While it's true that Beep Beep doesn't exactly fit in with all the other bands mentioned above, they do carry that same tongue-in-cheek retro sensibility that can come off as either refreshing or redundant, depending on your own proclivities. Like modern art, they present their music on a colorful canvas and leave it up to you to react to, and interpret it, how you will. The point is that you will react to it, whether you're turned on or pissed off, sucked in or freaked out, irritated and offended or excited and amused. Or all of the above. There isn't much of a middle ground for a band that lyrically focuses on spiritual, physical, and political deviance. It isn't just their sound that recalls the music of a previous generation; their blatant defiance of the system pays tribute to a time when open rebellion was any respectable band's modus operandi.

Musically, they sound like second-generation retro rehashers, being primarily influenced by bands who were primarily influenced by bands from 20-30 years ago. Equal parts Cursive and the aforementioned Faint, they also evoke a pinch of Blur, a hint of Afghan Whigs, and a generous helping of Queens of the Stone Age. Whatever their influences are, the product is tight, infectious, and sexy, bearing the indelible mark of producer Andy LeMaster. From the pre-coital anxiety of "Giggle Giggle" to the disdainful hostility of "The Fluorescent Lights", nothing on this album is boring. By listening to it you're guaranteed, at the very least, to feel confronted, if nothing else. So love it. Hate it. Or like me, love and hate it. But definitely listen to it.

- Emily Strong

Track Listing:

1. I Am The Secretary
2. Oh No!
3. Misuse Their Bodies
4. Giggle Giggle
5. Electronic Wolves
6. Chewy Poison
7. Executive Foilage
8. Fluorescent Lights
9. Vertical Cougar


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Mike Doughty



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