Listening to Katie Abendroth's violin stylings on The Beating's self-titled debut album (released in March) reminds me of a conversation I had with my violin teacher a few years back. Before we had our first lesson, she asked me what kind of music I liked and what style of violin playing I wanted to learn. I thought to myself, "A more apropos question would be what kind of music I don't like." I told her I liked most everything and she was delighted. She told me, "Great, I'm classically trained, but I can teach you rock, country, traditional, whatever."
It's obvious that Katie has that same talent. Her entrance is on song two, "V-8." It's a hillbilly-rocking tune that shows her ability to get down with any great bluegrass fiddler. On "Shelter," Abendroth's violin playing is reminiscent of the heart-wrenching traditional Russian style, which is perfect for the theme of the song. "Shelter" is about a philandering man: "Your inclinations for a secret tryst are treacherous. Your fictional allegiance was given in vain."
The pain of deceit runs rampant through the album. The first song, "Sensational," covers the deceit of a woman toward her suitors: "I'll derive, lavish attention on all I find. They'll compete for my affection, an exceptional impression. I'll deceive another devotee." "No Star" is about the pain of being dumped and adjusting to that status: "Just another one to me, you're no star. That's what I'll try and finally see."
The CD, which is available at CD City, ZIP's on University, Zia's, and Barnes & Noble, features the amazing vocals of Kim Howell. Her voice sounds like a cross between Natalie Merchant and Gwen Stefani, but with a helluva lot more soul. Brandon Williams covers the roles of singer/songwriter/guitarist/mandolin and saxophone player. Silas Hite covers percussion and backing vocals, Agent Jethro plays bass and Vikas is on drums as well as backing vocals. I recommend buying the album at their next live show.