A new “biggest band in the U.K.” is crowned so often, you could get whiplash just turning the pages of your NME or Melody Maker. There was Suede, then Blur, then Oasis, then Manic Street Preachers, then Prodigy, then Radiohead, then the Verve, then Gomez, and now—whew! I’m tired already—The Beta Band. And this just covers the last 5 years, I don’t even want to attempt to go farther back than that. Yikes! What the Beta Band shares with the aforementioned groups is that they are worthy of the praise being heaped on their heads. Even the crown prince of British rock, none other than Noel Gallagher, declared The Three E.P.‘s to be his favorite record of 1998.
What’s engendering all this praise is heady mixture of tunes as influenced by Muddy Waters as the Beatles and beyond all easy genre classification. From sprawling art-rock songs that recall the instrumental jams of Led Zeppelin in spirit, if not exactly sound, to down-home rawk that certainly doesn’t sound like it comes from a bunch of Scottish boys, The Three E.P.‘s throws out enough interesting nuggets to tantalize the listener into anxiously awaiting their debut proper. Of course, by the time that finally comes out, they won’t be the biggest band in Britain anymore.