When the Bush Tetras broke up in 1983, the world was a much different place than it would be just a decade later. The quartet's blend of African influences, art-funk and no-wave angularity was startlingly different and abrasive in the early '80s; by the mid-'90s, the musical mainstream had caught up enough that their music seemed much more accessible, and so the original quartet of singer Cynthia Sley, guitarist Pat Place, bassist Laura Kennedy and drummer Dee Pop regrouped in 1996 to record Beauty Lies. Produced by funk-rock pioneer Nona Hendryx, Beauty Lies is a little smoother than the quartet's original work. Place's guitar is more controlled and less slashing, though she can still work up a good old art-noise head of steam. Pop and Kennedy's rhythms are similarly smoother, and Sley's former harsh shriek is replaced by a similarly aggressive but subtler sound reminiscent of Vanessa Briscoe-Hay of Georgia art-funksters Pylon. The songs are generally better-written, if less immediate, than before, with the closing pair of "World (I Really Have to Go Now)" and a completely reworked ten-minute instrumental dub version of the same song being the highlights. Unfortunately, this surprisingly effective reunion fell on deaf ears commercially, and the Bush Tetras broke up again.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason