Friday, December 24, 2010

New Band: The Beards

I have found the greatest band of all time, bar-none, The Beards. This is a group of four Australians who take their facial hair vary seriously. All of their songs - and I mean all - are about beards and/or facial hair in some fashion. Whether it's about how awesome beards are, how they lost their beard (usually in some grave fight), how society doesn't understand beards (jobs and girlfriends who want you to shave it off), and how you need to grow a beard, it's all beards, beards, beards (which is also the title to their second album).
From the first song off of their self-titled debut, "The Beards Club," I knew I had found something special. Their music is the correct mix of rock and humor that makes me unsure if The Beards are a comedy troupe with some great music, or a rock band with really funny bits. They walk the tightrope like a pro. Of course there is the usual comparisons to make; being Australian one can't help but mention Flight of The Concords (even though they are Kiwis themselves), although there are more inclined to their music then FotC. Tenacious D references with rear their head as well, and although I see this more then FotC (aside from the accents), I also feel that a Stephen Lynch story-telling comparison must be mentioned. That's how I would (and have) describe these guys, an amalgamation of Flight of The Concords humor, Tenacious D rock, and Stephen Lynch stories. Do I have your attention now?

On the band's Facebook, they have this short, self-bio: "The concept of The Beards is simple: A folk-rock band that exclusively perform songs about just one subject: Beards." Bearded folk rock is their self-description, and if you think that mostly-acoustic music qualifies as 'folk' then it is accurate. But I view folk as something with old-time instruments and/or themes, or at least playing traditional pieces, The Beards do none of this. I would call their music alternative rock with a folksy spin (barely) with a splash of stoner thrown in for good measure. After my describing their comic side above, this sounds like an equally eclectic comparison of their talents, and it is as accurate as I can make it.

Their first album, The Beards, is the better of their two releases. It is much more fresh and unique sounding of the pair. Aside from three skit-tracks, which have the group being mock-interviewed on a radio show, every song is great. This album is much more of a story-teller album, wherein most of the songs have some sort of narrative throughout. Subject matter ranges from what is needed to join in "The Beards Club" (Hint: a beard), to how every great man needs a beard ("A Wizard Needs A Beard"), to "Big Bearded Bruce" the greatest man across the land, and all the way to the aptly named, and very funny, "Who Told You To Shave Off Your Beard?" (which just consists of music with the shouted title occasionally overheard in the background). The "Radio Interviews" are pretty funny in their own right, the first one is about how the group is mad they aren't being interviewed by a man with a beard, the second is about their 'unreleased track' "My Beard Is Better Then Satan's," and the third returns them to making fun of the interviewee (and listeners who are "calling in') for not having a beard. I laughed throughout, and although it is an unnecessary break from the music, it does add a layer to the album, in the way that only comic music albums can.

Their followup, Beards, Beards, Beards, continues the obvious trend of the amazingness of beards, but it doesn't pull it off so well. In their first release the music was all over with themes (the music not the lyrics) and style, and all had a lot of energy too it. With this second album, the song quality and consistency is nearly all the same, which is a mix of good and bad. The album is still great and funny, but I liked the craziness of the first. There are still the narrative songs, but not as many; my favorites being "If Your Dad Doesn't Have A Beard, Then You've Got Two Mums," and "Beards Don't Kill People, People With Beards Kill People." The majority of the rest of the tracks become more of a traditional song style, with verses and choruses and catchy rhythms throughout. These songs are still good, "Beards Across Australia Unite," and "Shaved Beard" stand out quite a bit. There are songs that mix the two ideals; "Born With A Beard," and "My Baby Left Me For A man Without A Beard," almost have the pull of the full-on narrative, but not quite. Again this album is a good album, and on it's own I would say it was hilarious and unique (which it is still sort of), but compared to their earlier album, it fails to impress to the top level.

There isn't a whole lot on the web about The Beards, hell I only found them through one of my 'music acquiring' sites (Dimensions of Sonic Excellence), and this is something I think we need to fix. The group is funny, the music is pretty damn good, and their subject matter is legendary. If you want a good laugh, as well as some rockin' music, give The Beards a spin. One thing is that the group only wants one type of person to listen to their music; those who either have, or are planning on growing, a beard. If you don't qualify, then just move on until you do. And if you think you're free being female, guess again, The Beards just say you aren't trying hard enough, get on it!

1 comment:

Heidi "Gryphyn" Hosmer said...

Holy crap, I need to get a listen to this. Jesse will be amused. :{D~ (does that emoticon look bearded to you?)