steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Get Help

"The End of the New Country" CD

Midriff Records

Genre: indie pop, folk

Sep 29 2008

Using teamwork and the Internet, the Beatings' Tony Skalicky and Strikes Again! drummer Mike Ingenthron have pieced together a pretty awesome song album. They share singing and songwriting duties. They're proud of their writing process - check their blog for B-sides and outtakes and stuff - and their album is polished and crafty. Its instrumental sound is consistent, full of guitars and reverb and a few sound effects, and though it's somewhat constrained by the lack of a drummer they work overtime on their Garageband and Pro Tools beats to compensate.

But Get Help actually sounds like two distinct bands. Mike and Tony's individual lyrical and vocal leanings make for radically different songs. Tony is wry and oblique; Mike plays it earnest. So there's something for everyone! Unless you hate reverb. Then you're shit out of luck. Tony bellows many of his songs in a deep, dark voice like the guy from The National, except with slightly less conviction, which isn't a bad thing. With the notable exceptions of the arresting "Fall-in-Love-to Song" (radios play 'em at inopportune times) and fist-pumping closer "Growing Circles" (dig that error message sample!), he's cool and detached. This makes Mike's sweet act stand out, which is nice because Mike's lyrics are generally great. His tentative call to arms about the military and 'missing man formation' is a winner. So is his only semi-downer, the jarringly hypnotic breakup song, "All Else Fails." It's decidedly unspiteful. "Resistance to perspective keeps me safe from understanding/It's crucial to my planning/What we can do without," over dissonant strings and a jittery mid-tempo rhythm. Killer. Since these guys are big-s Songwriters, every song is put together with great care, and the result is charming and totally replayable. Sweet!

get help's myspace


Rhett Alexander

[Vitals: 15 tracks, distributed by the label, released October 14 2008]