The Bloody Beetroots – ‘The Great Electronic Swindle’ (Last Gang Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Monday, 09 October 2017 04:00

The Bloody Beetroots artworkI must admit, when the email advising of this album’s imminent release popped into my hectic inbox, it immediately intrigued. Now, anything that mentions “electronica” or “DJ” normally is an immediate turn off: I mean, DJs don’t create music per se, they play other people’s music – and, by and large, make a pig’s ear of the original creation in the process. But, something made me open this email: perhaps it was the name of the project in question… well, initially: but then I took a look at the list of guest contributors: Perry Farrell, Tommy Lee, Anders Friden of In Flames, Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons, Jason Aalon Butler of Letlive/The Fever and Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam, as well as collaborations with Gallows and Deap Valley. Holy feckin’ hell: I just had to check this bad boy out…

 

The accompanying press release shed some invaluable insight into the project: “This is the first time I have used so many vocalists and lyrics in The Bloody Beetroots music,” explained the rather pretentiously named Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, the Italian producer and songwriter behind it. 

 

“I chose the greatest vocalists I knew that could help tell the story of about four years of life,” he adds, before going on to explain the inspiration behind the album – an EDM-meets-punk-meets-industrial goth tribute to the Sex Pistols and the film ‘The Great Rock and Roll Swindle’. 

 

“It was a sign of the end of an era. The end of punk.  I want to reclaim that for electronic music because the business squeezed the genre so much that they delivered the end of electronic music itself.  We are living in a great electronic swindle.  People don’t even realize who is the artist, the producer and who deserves to be called an artist in this genre.  There is much great music out there but it is completely covered by trash.  You just have to dig. There’s so much shit around.


“Dance music has been recognized as cheerful, joyful but there is so much more than that.  The way we’re dealing with this album… with the cover, etc, is trying to add substance to it. Dance music used the beat to draw people in.  We use the ‘four on the floor’ kick in a similar way to bring people in and then expose to something with more substance.”

 

 

The resulting album is intriguing to say the least - as intimated above, an enigmatic mix of EDM, punk, industrial metal and gothic noir… and that’s just the opening track, and debut single, ‘My Name Is Thunder’, which punches with an AC/DC-meets-Primal Scream intensity that would have Carl Frampton seriously considering coming off the stool for the next round. But he should, ‘cos ‘Wolfpack’ is the complete antithesis: OK, it’s got a neat White Zombie-esque groove going on in the guitar lines, but it lacks the immediacy of its predecessor, at least until the final quarter.

 

‘Nothing But Love’ is a sublime slice of gothic blues, led by a haunting piano motif and featuring one of the best vocal performances Jay Buchanan has ever laid down, one which would have the likes of Plant and Rodgers looking over the shoulders and seriously considering a graceful retirement. It’s backed up by an eclectic backing track which moves gracefully from a heavy industrial beat to sweeping guitar interjections to beautiful reprises of that piano theme. ‘Pirate, Punks & Politics’ brings in the album’s two biggest hitters, Messrs Farrell and Lee: and, it has to be admitted, it has the stamp of both Jane’s Addiction and Methods Of Mayhem all over it, from the acerbic opening guitar sting through the offbeat snare sound to Farrell’s withered vocal.

 

 

 

To be honest, apart from a few standout moments, the album then disappears down a less experimental EDM, more true dance oriented, route: those exceptions come in the shape of two contributions from longtime TBB collaborator Greta Svabo Bach, on the off-kilter and classically scoped ‘Invisible’ and Kate Bush-esque atmospheric whisper of ‘The Great Run’, plus the viciously hardcore vocal over string arrangement razor sharpness of ‘All Black Everything’ (the Gallows collaboration), which is a masterclass in post-downfall emo madness. Anders Friden’s contribution, ‘Irreversible’, unfortunately lacks that cutting edge, it’s crunch not quite delivering on its initial promise, while Eric Nally’s ‘Enter The Void’ is blander than the colourless towel that’s been hanging on our crazy next door neighbour’s washing line for the past year.

 

Other than that, the second half of the album is the sort of pure “dance” dross that DQ and myself are forced to subject our eardrums to when we’ve been ushered out of the Saturday evening metal nights in our local club to the pub next door while we neck the last few dregs of our pints. How the feck to they get away with calling this shite “music”? Half of it doesn’t even have a rhythm you can dance to: yeah, the girls might sway drunkenly around their handbags before hurling into their blokes’ pints, but I sure as hell can’t boogie to this nonsense.

 

The album tries to redeem itself with its closing duology: ‘Drive’, featuring Deap Valley, comes as close to a driving pop-punk anthem as you’re gonna get on an album like this, its sharp edge diluted by the awful background noise, while ‘Crash’ sees Jason Aalon Butler (if you’ve been attention, he’s the bloke from Letlive/The Fever) deliver a rabid slice of rap-infused hardcore, coupled with a Led Zep sample, that simply drives the album to a conclusion you would not have expected ten or 15 minutes earlier.

 

If they’d deleted the four or five pure dance tracks, TBB would maybe have had a pretty decent crossover oeuvre. Unfortunately, without the art of the skip button during its third quarter, it’s diluted into that “what, if, maybe” club of speculation. And I won’t be digging out my jiving shoes in a hurry…

 

‘The Great Electronic Swindle’ is released on 20 October.

 

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