I could argue that the long-awaited debut LP from Beaters has arrived too late for anyone outside of San Diego to care much and that it's the closest thing I've seen to a local equivalent of Guns N' Roses' decade-in-the-making Chinese Democracy. More than two years ago, Vice magazine wrote about the album's title track and music website Stereogum praised the band's self-described “mutant-punk” sound as “unrelenting” and “darkly atmospheric.” Any band with even a remote sense of self-marketing would have ridden that hype like a mechanical bull, putting out an LP forthwith.
But Beaters aren't your typical band. To say what I just said detracts from just how good they really are. Frontman Jeremy Rojas and drummer / musical soulmate Andrew Montoya have always made fantastic music together, whether it was the brat-punk noise of The Sess or, more recently, the danceable new-wave of Ale Mania. While the former sounded like teenage nihilism and the latter was a step toward mature pop sensibilities, Beaters are a good dose of both. Songs like “Swine Gen” and “Contender” would please a youthful punk as well as an aging hipster. It's grownup music, but it still has an exuberance that Ché Café kids can embrace.
So, has it been worth the wait? Kinda. At eight songs in a little more than 25 minutes, Fishage feels anti-climactic. Plus, it'd be nice to have heard more new material instead of a by-the-numbers cover of The Damned's “New Rose” and remixed versions of the years-old “White Hate” and “Fishage.” But maybe the idea is to throw “Fishage” back out there and get critics and bloggers back on the hype bus. Hmm—that'd be some clever marketing.