The Bad Beats
Off the Hook
If you're doing garage rock in 2019, then covering anything by the Lyres is akin to greeting your fellow travellers with a secret handshake. Tackling the revered Boston revisionists’ 1984 masterpiece “Help You Ann”—as the Bad Beats do in a 2016 YouTube clip you need to watch right now—well, Christ, that’s like rolling up your pant leg and tickling the other guy’s sac while you’re at it.
The point I’m trying to make here is that this Vancouver four-piece is no bunch of fuzz-pedal dilettantes. Second album Off the Hook offers solid evidence even without the help of “Help You Ann”; vocalist Cam Alexander and company beat the tar out of the Sparkles’ stupendous 1967 angst attack “You Ain’t No Friend of Mine”.
Jagger-Richards receive an equally tough Pacific Northwest workover on the title track, and the band fully reclaims the Animals’ “Inside Looking Out” from the heavy bread head territory Grand Funk Railroad took the song into circa 1969.
Best of all, arguably, is the dirty, tumescent organ throb the band uses to assault Townes Van Zandt’s “Waiting Around to Die”, finding the sinister nerve that every Van Zandt–loving acoustic folkie has managed to misunderstand or ignore for years now. Consider it a throwdown.
As for the album’s eight originals, starting explosively enough with “What You Tryin’ to Say”—they all sound like covers. Which can only mean the Bad Beats are doing it right and that 1965 is already shaping up to be a very good year.