House Burning Down

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Amusingly introduced with easy listening music and producer Mackaye thanking the listener "for choosing this hardcore product," House introduces a changed Beefeater. Squip, for a start, looks a little more Richard Hell-like and wasted in the photos, though he still pretty much sounds the same as always -- there's a bit more H.R. of Bad Brains in his vocals here, actually. Drummer Taylor is gone, replaced by one Kenny Craun, who does a passable enough job, much as his predecessor. Finally, the band generally stretches a bit more than they have in the past, rocking out a little harder and with slower paces here and there as well. Assisted by almost ten different guest performers or friends of the group, Beefeater still generally does the punk/funk combination thing with side detours along the way. "Bedlam Rainforest" has a variety of percussion jam/African lyric breaks, while solo sax turns and random basslines and the like crop up as intros to songs. Squip's lyrics are a touch more abstract and general than before -- while no longer specifically naming names, though, he still talks about staying yourself in a screwed up world. Every so often it gets a little more focused, as on the pretty-acoustic-then-charging-electric "Insurrection Chant," but mostly this release steers away from the past, at least a little bit. Each of the main four members gets a solo piece to specifically do his own thing: the funniest has to be Craun's a cappella "Ain't Got No Time": "Ain't got no time, ain't got no goddamn time...that's it!" Various studio snippets and conversations crop up throughout the album, and the sense is that everyone's having a fun time doing whatever they're doing, right down to the concluding, dub-tinged cover of Tommy Dorsey's "Live the Life."

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