Published: October, 2007, West Coast Performer Magazine

The Beltholes "For Whom The Beltholes "
(Burn Burn Burn Records)
Recorded and mixed by Kurt Bloch at Chroma Sound in Seattle, WA
Additional tracking at Audio Bardahl
Mastered by KB at The Birdtime(tm) Bird Co.

By Michael Fortes

Seattle’s The Beltholes carry on the proud tradition of artists who have used the iconic Meet The Beatles record as the basis for an album cover and some folks will probably check it out on that merit alone. The music inside For Whom the Beltholes, however, only occasionally recalls The Beatles. The Beltholes’ musical tastes are so varied that a single sound can’t be pegged on these guys. Producer Kurt Bloch manages to wring a thoroughly satisfying, big-time sound out of the band, with occasional segues to keep the music from encountering too much dead space.

The best tunes include the opener “Once in a While,” which strikes a decidedly melancholy tone with some beautiful acoustic guitar voicings in a slow, moody rock arrangement. “Creeps in the Park” adds a touch of bossa nova to the band’s sound as surf guitar beds the murky, sarcastically dramatic vocals about destructive hoodlums. And in yet another switch, a straight-up rockabilly number (“More Bad News”) follows, opening with a lightning-fast acoustic riff, while the piano-based rocker “Cruel Lida” pays tribute to The Kinks’ mid-’60s British music hall stylings.

The record’s punkier overtones yield mixed results. “Three Legs Running” works its double entendre of a title into a humorous set of lyrics and adds an old-time rock ‘n’ roll texture via some boogie piano and harmonies. The angry/sarcastic tone of “Ex-Girlfriend,” however, is lost in translation as the vocals carry too much sarcasm and not enough anger.

Any faults are redeemed on the album’s single funniest song, “Rockin’ Retro Losers,” in which the band assumes the point of view of a misguided critic and takes shots at bands who rip off the old masters — bands like The Beltholes, for instance. They can and do laugh at themselves, and it makes all the difference.

The Beltholes "For Whom The Beltholes" album cover

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