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"EPs 1-3"  The Betes Noires  Release date: 2004  Label: Demo

It's always nice to get stuff in the post, especially when it's demos from new bands, and especially when they're on shiny black CDs. In this case its a collection of ten demos by The Betes Noires, from Northern Ireland. Superficially at least, they start out sounding a bit like early (i.e. before they got shit) Stereophonics with a singer that you don't want to punch, but there's a liveliness in these tracks that reveals them as deserving of more flattering comparisons. "Visceral Path" is like Ash when they're doing their punk pop bit and "Yankee's Troubled Birth" is edgy and tense, with electricity beneath the surface buzzing for release. In fact, these ten tracks cover a wide range of styles, all of which see the band making themselves quite at home. With the possibilities as open as this it would seem a shame to see The Betes Noires commit themselves just yet, but there is evidence here to suggest that when it does happen success will be just a short step behind.

With the advent of the internet and BBC Radio paying more attention to parts of the UK that aren't London, it's getting easier for bands from Northern Ireland to get noticed, but for many it's still a forgotten corner of the UK (confused American readers, please look here) and bands like The Betes Noires often suffer from being shoehorned into categories that don't suit them and scenes of which they are not a part, simply to satisfy a record company's lust for classification. All these tracks are available for free on the band's web site so there's no excuse for not checking them out now while they're still fresh. -Ian Martin, Feb.22.05.

The Betes Noires [EPs 1-3] 2003/2004 EPs 1-3

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