VHS or Beta
Artist: VHS or Beta
Title: Diamonds and Death
Record Label: Varese Sarabamde
Imagine a club night called ‘Diamonds and Death’, who would the perfect house band be? A band that rattles out percussion based indie dance in the same ilk as LCD Soundsystem with the dulcet bittersweet tones of Ian Curtis perhaps? That band would be VHS or Beta, the New York via Kentucky based dance punk collective, renowned for their winning combination of rock and house music.
‘Diamonds and Death’ is the collective’s third record and comes fully loaded with pulsing dance floor rhythms and jittery percussion to create those awkward indie dance moves we all know and love. The Joy Division-esque vocal delivery is provided by Craig Pfunder. This is where the sweet and sour of VHS or Beta’s sonic delivery manifests.
Opening Track, ‘Breaking Bones’, sees Pfunder in a reflective mood, adding nostalgic nuances towards a carefree youth and the beauty of being a child, all with the slight hint of longing to recapture those moments.
The band’s indie/dance concoction comes to a head with ‘I Found a Reason’, which announces itself with 90’s house piano riff reminiscent of the hedonistic times in Ibiza.
There is a set formula to ‘Diamonds and Death’ where each track is an exaggerated dance-punk jam. A more direct approach with a handful of shorter, snappier tracks, would have created a more fully formed listening experience. The album does miss that final freak out blow you would expect. The tempo builds towards a crescendo that sadly never happens, frustratingly, the missing ingredient from this record is a final riotous moment.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams