100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #69 The Beta Band – Dry The Rain

Released : 1997

People in the world generally fall into two broad categories; there are those who have heard The Beta Band’s Three E.P.’s compilation and love it, and there are those who have not heard it and do not love it. Yet.

Equally there are two distinct types of British musician, one cadre being those that come from a city and use their diversity and energy as a springboard, and those who don’t and instead fuel themselves with the frustration and boredom of living somewhere nothing happens.

Steve Mason was raised in the Fife university town of St.Andrews, from which any small cultural respite was the compact city of Dundee across the River Tay. The Beta Band germinated there, but made music in London, rapidly scooped up onto a label courtesy of the demos which would become the Champion Versions EP. Uncorporate and facing in completely the wrong direction to Britpop’s jingoistic fluffing, their talent wasn’t in absorbing the capital’s beady one upmanship, but gently mocking it.

Their side one track one was, in context, extraordinary. Dry The Rain shuffled like hip-hop, slide guitared like some way down Alabammy, brassed like a cantina and post-punked like angry students. Across it Mason sang a mantra that double dared anybody to come and get you for expressing inner most thoughts and feelings, the hug a sort of thing you only get from people who cared. People like him, from places where you didn’t bother to lock the back door of your soul every night.


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