The Beets

Let the Poison Out

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Barely nine months after the release of playfully primitive Stay Home, the Beets are back with another full-length, and their Hardly Art debut, Let the Poison Out. Paying homage to one of their idols, outspoken radio personality Howard Stern, in title -- a reference to a suggestive catch phrase that stemmed from the on-air sampling of an adult novelty -- and in artwork by Matthew Volz, the record delivers appropriately silly, eccentric, lo-fi pop. Recorded with Gary Olson of the Ladybug Transistor, the band strikes a balance between taking a more polished approach than their previous releases while maintaining the raw, live-energy feeling that comes to them so naturally. On the songwriting side, death emerges as a theme, but not ones to let things get heavy, the Beets offer their uniquely lighthearted, laissez faire take on the subject. The band conjures the rollicking, ramshackle energy of Beat Happening on “Friends of Friends,” unfolding a story of “stag[ing] my death to escape this mess” with shout-along delivery that makes the prospect sound appealing in a Heaven's Gate kind of way. And if there’s a Beets-ian philosophy on the meaning of life, it takes root in lead-off single “Doing as I Do,” which offers lyrics like “Jesus, God, Satan don’t really care about what you’ve done” and “And if you die, whatever” against a melody reminiscent of the Black Lips’ “Dirty Hands.” There are lots of musical fingerprints here, from the rambunctiousness of Danielson, to the off-kilter co-ed vocals of Thee Oh Sees, to the amateur approach of Half Japanese, but most of all, the Beets' shambling style shines through. While Let the Poison Out cleans up their sound a bit, it doesn’t sacrifice the laid-back, chirpy, quirkiness that listeners have grown to love.

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