I was all set to start writing my Missed Out Music Monday on Slick Shoes’ album Far From Nowhere and then I checked Twitter. I noticed a tweet from the band Beta State and clicked their page to check them out. Their page mentioned a video for their cover of the Bjork song Unravel. Taking on Bjork could have been a huge mistake but their cover is very moving. Bjork’s song opens with what sounds like a saxophone and a layer of looped electronic sounds. Then within the last thirity seconds there is an organ that carries out the song before an abrupt ending. The Beta State did a great job of taking this song and creating something that could stand alone as their original track. The intro features an ambient guitar over slow paced drums that lead into a goose bump induced chorus. The chorus originally in Bjork’s track features duel vocals by, none other than, herself. In Beta State’s video there are four women singing the chorus but it definitely sounds more like a choir.
Check out the song and video for yourself:
The original by Bjork:
After listening to their take on Unravel, I don’t know about five times, I decided to check out their new EP on Spotify. I heard the first track and just bought the damn thing. The chorus on the first track, Start A Clean Slate, gave me goosebumps. I wanted to know more about the band and when I read that guitarist/vocalist Ryan Hernandez and drummer Adrian Robison were previously in the band Strata I was sold. I always loved their S/T album that was released back in 2004. It definitely has a different style than Beta State but after a few listens you can tell it’s the same guys behind the wheel. Here were a couple singles released off the S/T album.
The last album Strata released, The End Of The World, sounded more along the lines of Dredg in comparison to their previous releases.
Beta State’s new EP, #Friendship, immediately starts off by demanding your attention within the first ten seconds of Start A Clean Slate. The beginning of the track sounds like the song Walk Away by Mad at Gravity and then shifts into vocal bliss with Matt McDonald. The last time I was this excited about a new vocalist was, and I know I shouldn’t be saying this, Jonny Craig. Another stand out track on the album is Carry You. The guitarist uses the same style from their Bjork cover and it works perfectly with the bridge in the song.
There are hints of Strata throughout the album but the ambient guitar is more reminiscent of Explosions In The Sky and Angels and Airwaves. The influences come out in the music but Beta State has a sound that is distinctly their own. Start by checking out the Bjork Unravel cover and then listen to Start A Clean Slate. The difference in the two tracks shows how almost effortless it is for the band to effectively cross between genres.
Check out the #Friendship EP on Spotify.
Also, if you live in the Bay area make sure you get a ticket to their show with Dredg this week. Dredg will be playing Catch Without Arms in its entirety and I cannot be there… Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.