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Beast - Beast [Album]

Beast - Beast [Album]


Review 4971 Views
Last Edited by: Jack Stovin April 1st, 2009.

Beast’s self-titled album markets itself as electronic Trip-Hop. The PR material at B E A S T states that “the words slam down, wrapped deep around grinding grooves, dripping with urgency”. Quite a description, yet true. Beast’s vocals, sung, spoken and rapped by Betty Bonifassi are dark, moody, atmospheric and alluring. These lyrics are then ably produced and combined with excellent, trippy and funky backing tracks that has an overall effect of creating quite a pleasant listen. Betty Bonifassi has a soulful voice, and the Beast album shows off her diversity and her range well. The instrument list on the Beast album is quite impressive, with standard Piano and Guitar being married with Organ, Choir, Preaching, Synth Bass and Electronic Glitch drum programming. The overall effect is an album that is quite arresting in its subject matter, soulful in its emotional honesty, yet funky in its inherent groove.

The opening track – Devil – immediately evokes memories of Tricky’s earlier trip hop productions and perhaps even more so of his later work with once girlfriend Martina Topley- Bird. The conjugation of a husky lead vocal, dark electronic synths, and grinding percussion makes for an arresting listen. The influence of funk guitar means that the inherent darkness in Devil is nicely counter-balanced. The bass throughout the album is mainly synthesized, and this gives Beast quite a modern edge. When this synth bass is combined with elements such as the acoustic piano and choir, the effect is very pleasing on the ear. Track 5 – Mr Hurricane is a perfect example of this effect.

The middle section on the Beast album is where all the strength of Beast lies. With tracks such as Mr Hurricane [5] through to City [9] really holding the listener in an emotional, effective, and highly musical place. Out of Control [6] has some nice reversed string effects and Ashtray [7] fuses a Spanish Guitar element to the free jazz of the 60’s inspired, lead vocal. Track 8 – Dark Eyes is another stand out track, with a filtered vocal intro, leading into a track which has dark lyrics- “ I set out a trap, and we fell into it”, combined with some lovely musical elements. Dark Eyes even has a guitar part that reminded me heavily of Orbital’s The Box Part II.

The ninth track “City” which is another stand out track showcases the voice of Bonifassi being backed up by a very able choir [The Kick Ass Choir] and effective gospel preaching by Tyrone Benskin. The Beast album is definitely one that should be listened too. Some people will really like it although some people others may grow tired of Bonifassi’s inherent soul. The dark emotions of the album may be too much for some while the closing track “Satan” with the lyrics “Satan your Kingdom must come down” being coupled with the Blues inspired music, may have just the right infusion of optimism that will leave the listener wanting nothing more than another listen.

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