November 30, 2002

VHS or Beta 'Le Funk"

Hair salons. After VHS or Beta let loose on the melody of "Heaven," I'm immediatly thinking of urban mall hair salons that play "hip" music that sound not unlike what some people might label disco. Hip enough to fool people that they're cool, yet safe enough that nobody's offended by it, with no words to confuse the issue.

VHS or Beta are a disco band. 'Nuff said on that particular issue. You cannot deny that little fact. It's apparent from the first note, and it stays with you well after the final note fades out. All they want to do is make you dance the night away without a care in your little head. For all this talk of dance music, it's not meant to be an insult! Really, these guys are without equals. The only two I can think of are !!! and Daft Punk. (Besides, isn't the title of Le Funk a nod to Daft Punk?) But while !!! are operating from a post-punk irony and Daft Punk are simply DJ's, VHS or Beta is making dance music that is simply the sincerest musical statement I've heard in the past few years. I mean, you'd HAVE to be sincere in what you do to make music that simply screams for derision.

But let's not quibble about those things, shall we? Let's DANCE! Don't crank up "Solid Gold" or "On & On" unless you've got on your dancing shoes. What really proves that VHS or Beta is a band to contend with are the two live tracks, "Flash" and "Teenage Dancefloor." It's here that the band mutates their disco styles into a post-Gang of Four-style dancefunk. These two songs are simply relentless in their power and their overwhelming, damn-this-is-lascivious rhythm.

Are VHS or Beta the dance band of the future? No, they're the dance band of NOW. The future died two years ago, New Order is just a bunch of old farts, and everyone else is irrelevant. Ignore at your own risk--dance for your own bliss.

--Joseph Kyle

No comments: