VHS or Beta: Bring on the Comets
VHS or Beta
Bring on the Comets
The British and French can barely conceal their contempt for one another, so leave it to a band from Louisville, Kentucky, to unite their rich, if diametrically opposed, musical traditions. While VHS or Beta's Le Funk—short on vocals but long on grooves—flaunted an unmistakably Parisian state of mind, the band's subsequent record, Night on Fire, saw VHS or Beta set across the English Channel, adding both buoyant, guitar-driven choruses and the vocal talents of Craig Pfunder to the mix. The result was a rare album that could please skinny-panted clubgoers and the most ardent British-rock fans alike.
The just-released Bring on the Comets edges ever so slightly closer to the U.K.-based new wave—the kind ignited by New Order and commercially perfected by Duran Duran and the Cure—that the band first explored on Night on Fire. Retrofitted with a Hook-ish bass line, "Fall Down Lightly" is a radiant and fitting homage to the era that continues to inspire them. But the good news is that, despite its slight Anglo bent, Bring on the Comets is still very much the product of VHS or Beta, which is to say it doesn't stray far from the band's recently established formula. Worthy successors here are "Love in My Pocket" and "Burn It All Down," melding jagged post-punk guitars with Daft Punk's deft sense of rhythm.
The British and French might not be any closer to burying the hatchet, but with Bring on the Comets, VHS or Beta certainly provide incentive for a speedy resolution. —Jon Garrett
VHS or Beta perform on Wednesday, September 5, at the 7th St. Entry; 612.332.1775
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