The Beets: STAY HOME

Wed Apr 13 2011
Everything that’s been called “lo-fi” for the past twenty years or so just got a fi upgrade.  The sound quality on The BeetsStay Home is barely a step above those bootlegs of hissy Nirvana demos you used to pay 25 bucks for at your local indie record store.  The guitars are often noticeably out of tune, and many of the vocal parts could generously be called “approximate”.  I’ve sat in on drunken campfire jams more accomplished than this album.  Now I have to try and make sense of why I love it so much.

If you wanted to be a dick about it, you could probably trace every riff on Stay Home back to Buddy Holly or, most recently, The Ramones, but where those punks famously left home, The Beets remain defiantly perched on stools in the basement.  Listening to this album feels like reading someone’s diary, like these tapes must have been stolen and released without consent.  So maybe it’s the illusion of intimacy that gets me.  Hmmmm…

Or maybe it goes deeper than that.  Maybe it’s the idea of three dudes bashing out barely-formed hazy mellow punkish tunes and not giving a crap what anybody thinks.  Punk was always as much about image as music, but these guys don’t seem to have any image at all.  No genre, no tag, no pretense, just a need to express themselves, and anybody can sing along.  Maybe that was the gimmick that lured some A&R snoop into putting this record out, but I can’t believe the band intended it.  I sense no contrivance, just fun.  Okay, that’s what I’m going with.  That’s why I love it.

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