April 7, 2023

New Zealands Latest Gift, The Beths


I was watching the NPR All Music Considered channel on YouTube the other day, NPR Music. If you’ve never watched the channel, the bulk of it is what are known as Tiny Desk Concerts (TDC). Bands play a short set in front of literally a small desk while NPR staffers watch from a few feet away. As you can imagine, it forces bands to perform in a more stripped down manner.

The TDC that caught my eye was one by a band called The Beths. They are from New Zealand and include exactly one Beth, the lead singer. I don’t know who the other Beths are but if they are as good a producing music as the one Beth, I’d love to meet them.

At the TDC, The came across like any number of indie folk bands. There was something that elevated them though. Songwriting perhaps, or just the sheer joy they exhibited in their music. It was, like watching a rocket just before takeoff – seemingly calm but with an inner fury just waiting to be unleashed.

Listening to their latest album, Expert In A Dying Field, it’s obvious that they are not really the band I saw at the TDC. Instead, they are much louder, even venturing into punk territory at times. There is a sweetness to their music that, coupled, with their 90s alternative sound, elevates them above the typical indie band. Too many indie bands take sweetness into twee territory. The Beths avoid this pitfall. They make music that is recognizable and listenable without it becoming repetitive or dull.

So, thanks New Zealand for The Beths.