The Bêtes Noires EPs 1 & 2
UK Release Date:

Demo recorded Sep 2003/Mar 2004

Track Listing:

1. Janet Puritanic
2. The Future Is Missing
3. Yankee's Troubled Birth
4. Clean
5. Visceral Path
6. Show Of Strength
7. Plastercut
8. Black/Blue Ink

The Bêtes Noires EPs 1 & 2 (Demo)
•• Published: SoundsXP, February 2005
Original article:

The English language is a strange animal. The literal French meaning of 'bêtes noires' is the darkly demonic 'black beasts', but the English translation is the comparatively sweet-sounding 'pet hates'. So what sort of creature are this Belfast trio? Is their music laden with satanic overtones or does it veer towards the lighter end of the musical spectrum?

Well, up-tempo opener 'Janet Puritanic' inflicts an instant blast of dirty garage rock with Paul McIver's powerful vocals and a mosh-inducing hook but, like all of the tracks on offer here, it retains an undeniable pop-edged accessibility. 'The Future Is Missing' is a lighter affair, combining jangling guitar with a shimmering chorus from alternate frontman Simon Kelly that shines so brightly you can almost feel the sun on your face if you shut your eyes for a moment. Almost every track has at least one element to prick up your ears and imprint itself on your mind, a rare exception being posturing plodder 'Show Of Strength'.

Various influences are clear for all to hear, the Pearl Jam-style power-grunge of 'Yankee's Troubled Birth', a touch of Smashing Pumpkins' quiet/loud drama on 'Clean', but the band the Bêtes Noires appear to aspire to most are Ash. This is most apparent on the smiling, fast-paced pogo-hop of 'Visceral Path', though in spite of the obvious inspiration from Tim Wheeler (who the band have recently supported) and co, its spirited, carefree attitude means it manages to stand on its own two feet admirably.

The music is driven and lively and the production virtually faultless, but while they would blow away many aspiring bands on the small stage, they may need to add that all important je ne sais quoi to their sound to successfully break into the big time - at present they are not unique in what they do but they do it very well. Yet to even talk about the Bêtes Noires in such terms is a credit to them, there are signed bands out there with far less inspiration and many of these songs would sound perfectly at home on the radio.

They are certainly worth keeping an eye on and this free CD is well worth blagging or downloading from their website so you can hear this energetic, not to mention highly professional, demo for yourself.

- Ian Roullier

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014