April 20, 2009
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
Beef is a Dutch band who play reggae music. That's plain and simple, but there is more to it. They play Beef reggae as we would say. The band has adapted reggae and ska riddims and they succeed in turning it into music with a particular pleasant twist.
A little history of the band. They were already veterans in different genres of the Dutch music scene when they joined forces in 1999 to become an All Star Dutch Reggae Massive: Beef! Their early recordings, released only on cassettes (the 1.1Gr.Fm Sessions), have become collector items. The same goes for the 10 inch EP release "Babylon by Beef" (Drunken Maria/1999). By the time the band delivered their first full studio album entitled "Flexodus" (Partners in Crime/1999), they had already established their live act to be known for it's energy and craftsmanship. Record company Pias picked up on the buzz, signed the band and had them record their self-titled 2nd album in England. Under productional leadership of singing legend Bitty McClean, "Beef!" was created.
"Late Night sessions", the first single from the album, reached out to an even bigger audience when airplay on radio and television took off. The same goes for their live show reputation with the Special Request Horns* joining their line up for the big shows. 2002 was the first year that the band was invited to the Nuit Tipique festival in Burkina Faso. Later, in 2005, they were voted "the most popular foreign band to attend the festival in the last 10 years" by the festival visitors. 2002 was also the year the band won the prestigious "Zilveren Harp" for their contribution and promise to the Dutch Pop Culture.
Michel Schoots (Urban Dance Squad) is responsible for the production of their 3th album "Last Rudy Standing" (PIAS/2005). He took the band into the ICP studios in Brussels and on a different musical path. This resulted in an album with singles like "Cashing The Money" and "Last Rudy Standing". The latter was used by Amnesty International in their "Control Arms" campaign, in which the band took up the role as Ambassador. 2007 started with the recordings of a new studio album and a release of their live album "Last Rudies Live – The Singles" (the first release on their own label "Beef Foundation"). It's also the start of "the Sneaky Previews Tour", the tour in which the band will give their audience a glimpse of the new material.
The current album 'Favorites' is a kind of 'best of' set. The band picked their own favorite tunes and the result is quite impressive. The music that the band has produced over the years is diverse, positive and always danceable. The album opens with a startling rendition of Prince's smash hit When Doves Cry which is followed by a tasteful song called Beef Are Gonna Rec. It. The next cut Never Let You Go is a simple love song with a nice horns arrangement. The conscious tune Rudeboys (On A Mission) reminds us of a song by the Police, but we can't recall the title right now.
If you like heavy guitar licks check out Justified and I & I . I must admit the latter track isn't our cup of tea, which isn't the case regarding the glorious tune Late Night Sessions and O.J. . The straight forward and relaxed one drop riddim of O.J. is hypnotizing, and it seems some parts of the song are taken from the Janis Ian hit 'Fly Too High'. Bitty McLean takes care of some fine guest vocals on Late Night Sessions. The song Rich Man is a swinging joyful tune while lovers of ska flavors should spin the tunes Elly Miss Elly and Bulletproof Vest. The latter tune is more or less a combination of ska and latin music, excellent production!
Overlooking the complete album it's rightful to say that Holland should be proud of Beef, a band with music running through their veins.