The Beakers CD review

Music Reviews
The Beakers CD review
Nov 2, 2004, 02:19

THE BEAKERS Four Steps Towards a Cultural Revolution CD

My editor didn't send along a bio for The Beakers. Nothing's posted at Fuggit. It's all in the grooves anyway, right?

The Beakers clearly were an 80's outfit from someplace in America other than NYC or LA. Highly derivative, yet unquestionably charming. The vocalese is unashamedly in pseudo-David Byrne uber-geek mode. The instrumental backing's all constipated Caucasoid neo-funk. It sounds very much like The Beakers were aficionados of the British post-punk underground, ala Blurt, who in turn were encouraged and somewhat influenced by those dogmatically awkward first couple records by Talking Heads. It's always cheesy to play the spot-the-influences game but sometimes there's powerful little else at work except the rec'd moves; The Beakers are a case in point.

And yet I'm sure in their particular mise en scene… Pittsburgh? Portland? Madison?… [ Ed. note: It was Seattle] they stuck out like sore thumbs and scared, irritated, and enlightened the locals to the aesthetic possibilities outside of Bob Seger and the Eagles etc. And for that I'm eternally grateful to The Beakers and all their ilk. Still, the guys who studied T. Heads' honky-fication of funk, and took license to extrapolate upon, developed the basics along entirely different artistic lines, more extremely and more originally i.e. The Pop Group, early Birthday Party, were proved right in the long run, not outfits like The Beakers. [K]

-Howard Wuelfing

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