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VHS or Beta - Night on Fire


Review: Jack Foley

THE Eighties continues to play an integral part of contemporary American culture, so it's hardly surprising to find that so much of its new music takes its inspiration from that decade in some way.

VHS or Beta belong firmly in the 80s era, taking their cue from the likes of The Cure and Duran Duran, while also keeping an eye on the modern likes of Scissor Sisters and The Rapture.

Hailing from Kentucky, the band pride themselves on their ability to deliver catchy retro-hooks that make good use of funky guitar riffs and pop-tinged disco beats.

Needless to say, Night on Fire is a remarkably bouncy affair, even when dealing with dark themes.

The album gets off to a rousing start with the former single, Night on Fire, which combines those killer hooks with the lead singer's Robert Smith-style vocals.

What follows is an oddly likeable mix of hand-clappy beats and grooves that embrace the cheesy sound of the 80s with effortless abandon.

Highlights include the remarkably Daft Punk-inspired disco anthem, Forever, which even hints at the robotic vocals employed by the dance duo, while infusing it with plenty of pop sensibilities.

Alive is another infectious track, a slow-builder that gives rise to quite an upbeat record, while Dynamize surprises, late on, with some harder guitars, more pounding drums and a really funky bassline to drive the record forward.

Throughout, VHS or Beta aren't afraid to let the instruments have a good airing, breaking up most tracks with long musical interludes and allowing the listener to dance if they want to.

So while they may not be courting as many headlines as the likes of the Scissor Sisters or The Rapture, they deliver their brand of retro-funk in an equally impressive manner, revelling in what they have to offer.

We defy you not to be impressed by some of it - even if the thought of yet more 80s nostalgia turns you off somewhat.

Track listing:
1. Night on Fire
2. You Got Me
3. Nightwaves
4. Melting Moon
5. No Cabaret!
6. Forever
7. Alive
8. Dynamize
9. Ocean
10. Irreversible

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