Rhythm & Views

The Beating

I can neither say enough about nor give enough respect to a band that runs all over the musical map. To me, it shows a whole bunch of talent, intelligence and a genuine love of music--in all its glorious forms. This is why The Beating rocks. Their CD hits pop, rock and dance with traditional Russian, Irish and American music woven through. And all the songs are very damn catchy.

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.