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Beautiful Creatures "Deuce"

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Sunday, September 25, 2005 @ 8:36 AM


On Spitfire Records

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“Sommmmmeeone, Soooommmeeonnne Just Liiiiikke Youuuuuu! Ohhh, ohhhh, I neeeed someone jjjuust liike yoouuu!”

Yep, that’s pretty much how I remember Beautiful Creature vocalist Joe Leste. He was belting out, “Someone Like You,” and I was thinking the song was cooler than hell and that Bang Tango had to be worth a listen. Anyway, I picked up the cassette and ended up coming to the same conclusion many others did--basically that the album Psycho Café sucked, but….well…that song was still great. It remains one of the better tunes of the era. That leads us to the second record from Leste’s band Beautiful Creatures. The sticker on the front tells me that the band is like:

“Jet Meets Velvet Revolver.”

Man, that’s almost a fuckin’ disqualification from the start. Damn, what’s next? Strokes meet Nickelback? Anyway, I get past that to find that a religious website reviewed the record and only found “five offensive words” while really seeming to like the record except for a song on the disc called “Straight To Hell” which the reviewer “did not agree with personally.” My expectations weren’t exactly piqued at this juncture, but the band’s first record wasn’t too bad, and it was actually surprising to see a second record from BC given Leste’s return to Bang Tango awhile back. In any case, it was time to throw this son of a bitch in the stereo and count the obscenities. (Do those guys listen to the record in order to count the dirty words or do they just look at the lyric booklet?) Oh, fuck it. (That would be two “fucks” and one “son of a bitch” up to this point for those keeping track).

Really, the record scores right away with “Anyone” and “Unforgiven” which are both tunes that have a more than listenable chorus and some rhythmic, crunchy guitar work that is clear, distinct and energetic. It’s also apparent right away that there is some melody and differentiation between the songs on Deuce that gives it a certain degree of character. “Freedom” doesn’t quite hit the mark here, but “Save Me” is great rock--period. Weirdly enough, on a couple of tunes the band throws in some techno effects on the vocals, but on “Superfly” the song manages to rock in spite of itself. Despite objection from the aforementioned fundamentalist website, “Straight To Hell” is the most frenetic, pummeling song on the disc proving once again that the best metal comes straight from Satan and his minions. Overall, the first half of Deuce is satisfying, vintage rock that should be cranked out of car windows, mp 3 players or even cubicles all across the nation--it is essentially Beautiful Creatures being Beautiful Creatures.

Then, in an effort mix up the sequencing on Deuce, BC places a mellow forty-two second instrumental entitled “The Unknown” right before kicking into a plodding “Ton of Lead” which really is a Soundgardenish letdown. This band does upbeat very well, but Leste’s vocals simply don’t carry the power of Chris Cornell’s and what the listener is left with is a song that wants to smack you in the chin but ends up only grazing your neck instead. Unfortunately, the group then launches into an obvious Cult tribute with “Brand New Day.” The problem primarily with this tune is the same as it was with the previous one--Leste’s vocal range is only so great and with that being the case, Cornell and Ian Astbury aren’t two of the easier guys in rock to emulate. Deuce concludes with another upbeat rocker entitled “Thanks” a song that finally manages to completely overpower the vocals and leaves the listener wondering what would have been if the mix would have been clearer and the singing more dynamic. Everything closes with a ballad straight out of the halcyon days this band was born out of and inspired by entitled “I Won’t Be The One”. This ode to lost love may not be perfect by any means, and it certainly isn’t polished like an “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, but that is exactly why it is so cool. Joe’s vocals warble and there is a minimum amount of instrumentation that just seems bally, true and unlike so much of what is being recorded even by metal bands today.

Regardless of how many offensive words this record possesses or where the lead singer came from, this record is getting a favorable nod. Even with the imperfections that exist in the second half of Deuce, the honest truth is that I would rather listen to this record than ten Velvet Revolver or Jet offerings. Hell, you can at least tell these songs apart and Beautiful Creatures is obviously more closely aligned with the classic eighties sound than nearly anyone else making music today. The only portion of this which drops the ball seems to be the tunes in which the group tries to be someone other than themselves. BC gets major points for tempo changes and mood alterations within the sequencing, but if it comes at the expense sometimes of the group being themselves, then hell, give me ten different songs that rock like “Save Me”--it’s good stuff. That goes for Joe Leste as well--the guy is a more than competent singer who just needs to play to his strengths and sounding like the Cult or Soundgarden at times simply isn’t one of them. True purveyors of a melodic rocking sound need to pick this up--the eight or so really cranking songs here should definitely be enough to satisfy anyone looking for music that ironically enough deviates drastically from the bands that Beautiful Creatures is most often compared to--it’s ok though, just understand that regardless of the marketing--this is rock, good rock.

***


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