Alternative music reviews

June 17, 2005

Without Me by British Beef

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This day-glo, commercial punk pop single sounds like a cross between all those American bands smothering the airwaves a few years back (Blink182, New Found Glory) and safe British punk influences such as Buzzcocks. It’s a predictable yet highly infectious mix, and British Beef are a fun, irrelevant band that would serve a great support act to any pop punk band. In fact they have already supported the likes of Good Charlotte, Baby Shambles and Viking Skull (really? I wonder how they went down with the metal crowd). Lyrical content addresses such hollow points as girls, sticky feelings and getting expelled – the usual teenaged angst that a ready made fan base will strongly identify with. The single comes with two versions of ‘Without Me’ – one titled “Clean” the other titled “Dirty” – after listening to both versions in succession I can’t tell the difference between the two – I presume the dirty version have more disobedient words.

This single comes with a music video of the band fooling around in Central London, with fast editing of band members sticking 2-fingers up to the camera, larking around on the streets looking lost and smashing an acoustic guitar at the video climax. The four-piece band (comprising of Felix, Jam, Gaz and Pat) certainly look like the British New Found Glory, the bleached spiky hair of the singer living up to the image and youthful playfulness is evident in the bashing out three chords as fast as possible. The other song included on this 3-track and 1 video single is “No I Don’t Want Another Joint”, presumably an anti-drug song but more likely it’s the end of the night and the band too stoned to smoked another doobie. It’s a blur of buzz-saw guitars, fixed in a generic punk structure, cleanly, pleasantly recorded smooth-punk. It is what the kids would call “skate punk”, fast-paced and bouncy with not a redeeming quality in its baggy pants.

British Beef won “The Radio 1 Best Unsigned Act” award and are being courted by the majors -after watching the enthusiasm oozing out of the video and undeniably catchy ‘Without Me’ in tow, it’s not hard to see why. But with Green Day raising the bar to new heights with ‘American Idiot’, it will take more than simplistic, off-the-shelf Punk Pop to offer anything new to a limited genre. But fair play, ‘Without Me’ is toe-tapping catchy and strong melody wise and ideal pick-me-up for Blink182 fans wanting to fill the void left by Blink’s hiatus.

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