Local band offers old-school appeal

Ricky Soltero and Ricky Soltero

The San Diego-based band the Beaters released their aptly titled cassette “Exorcize” via Suplex Cassettes. In an era where digital downloads dominate the market, the decision to release a cassette may seem outdated, but it is actually a great presentation for the Beaters’ repertoire.

Consisting of songs previously available on 7-inch vinyl, the songs are abrasive and surprisingly tight. The opening song, “Obamanation,” with its pulsing beat and amazing bass line, delivers the raw energy that is usually hard for any live band to recreate in a studio setting. The vocals are intangible, but that’s not the point. The energy of the delivery is consuming and claustrophobic, drowning you in a swirl of reverb and distortion.

The same can be said about the second track, “Fishage.” Following the same formula as the opening track, “Fishage” has a pulsing rhythm and very infectious vocals that are hard to comprehend but never harm the quality of the song. Actually, it makes it more appealing when the only thing you hear throughout the chaos is a snotty voice saying “fishage, fishage.”

The beat changes for more guitar-dominated tracks like “Dream Punk” and “Venom Warrior” with the latter including a nice little keyboard riff in the background, which has a very hypnotic aspect to it, lending itself to bring a sense of paranoia.

Indeed, paranoia seems to cast a shadow on this six-song cassette, whether it was coincidental or not. The tape hiss and low fidelity give the songs character and transforms them from simple rock songs into something else entirely. Such is the case with “White Hate.” Nothing could have been done to improve on this song; the screams and howls, the whole execution is pretty much sonic mayhem perfection.

Comparisons have been made to early New Order and the abrasiveness of Big Black, but a more fair comparison would be to Nick Cave’s band the Birthday Party, had Cave and the band gotten their hands on amphetamines. The Beaters are exhilarating and never do the songs drag. The Beaters are prone to bigger things if they are able to expand on their initial idea.

Honestly, the only problem with “Exorcize” is the availability of this release; being that this is a cassette-only release, it is guided toward a specific audience. I highly recommend buying a copy or wait for the Beaters to take pity on us and release them digitally.

Ricky Soltero is a City Times staff writer