Holding on to Hand Grenades
(Midriff Records, 2006)
Formed in Boston in the late 90’s, The Beatings have released a number of records on their own, Midriff Records. What this band has learned is that when making music one of the most difficult achievements is to fill all of the space during a song. Not just length, but density of noise. This is why they yell. There is singing on this slab, both from a man and a woman, but when the gentlemen screams, the band shifts into early eighties SST mode and fills all of the space. Each track, without question, exemplifies a very impressive aspect of the band, but at the same time there is something that detracts from the over-all quality. That something is left over space. The rest of this album, most of it, suffers from over-thinking. Each track ends up lasting too long; even SST bands knew when to stop. Also, in the press release, the band is referred to as “art-rock with noisy embellishments”, which makes me automatically dislike your band. And while The Beatings do occasionally pull off a few moments that recall Mission of Burma, by and large this release doesn’t stand out when compared to contemporary or past acts. That’s alright though, this band controls its own destiny in the fact that they run their own label and have the ability to create a niche and an audience. They almost have it, but not on this slab.