Attention casting directors! Are you looking for a band to provide music for the Talulah Gosh story? Look no further than Betty and the Werewolves. This U.K. foursome has the sound down. Just like the heroes of C-86, they’ve got clattering, super-charged punk tempos, careening guitar riffs, witty, snarky, and heartsick lyrics, sugar-sweet vocals that overlap and tumble into tricky harmonies, and the magical ability to make twee pop sound like the most exciting music on earth for two-and-a-half minutes at a time. They aren’t mere copycats however; they add an extra level of fierceness and fire to the classic twee punk template. And they write songs so good and catchy that it really doesn’t matter if they share some DNA with their inspirations. The two singles ("Euston Station" and "David Cassidy") leading up to the release of their debut album Teatime Favourites were thrilling songs that were certainly nostalgic, but also promised that Betty were on the trail of something quite special. The first listen to the album confirms that they indeed did deliver something special. Teatime Favourites is the work of a band who has fully absorbed the past but isn’t content to just spit it back out, they’d rather blast it out on rockets. The record is filled with fast and ferocious songs that must leave the band dripping with sweat when the play them live. Drummer Doug McFarlane plays like a whirlwind throughout, working to keep the songs under control while pushing them forward with manic glee. The rest of the group plays like they are in the middle of a mad dash, too. The guitars slash and crash, the vocals breathlessly wind around each other, and anyone who doesn’t feel like getting up and dancing like a fool to tracks like "Cassidy," "Francis," "Plastic," or "The Party" is probably listening to the wrong record. The songs that dial back the tempo in favor of a more restrained and thoughtful approach like "Should I Go to Glasgow" or "Hyacinth Girl" give the listener a chance to hear how lovely the vocals of Laura McMahon and Emily Bennett really are; McMahon's leads are sugar sweet and the way their voices mesh together on "Paper Thin" is worth the cost of admission alone. These songs also provide a much-needed break for breath and some nicely melancholy reflection as well. It makes for a well-rounded listening experience, full of abandon and fun but also some spots of real emotion and beauty, too. Betty and the Werewolves may never reach the legendary status of Talulah Gosh and the C-86 pioneers, but it won’t be for lack of talent, effort, and now, this excellent album.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra