Beakers Four Steps Toward a Cultural Revolution

The Beakers has a fast-rising career that led to extensive touring, which included sharing a stage with Delta 5 and Gang of Four, one release, and appearances on a couple of compilations. What makes it such a fast career is that it all happened in one year (1980). The Beakers hit the Seattle scene with their art punk fervour, and most of the 17 songs on this album were not released until now, which, for the sake of a lesson in music history, makes this a very interesting record. With outwardly misshapen singing and mismatched, animated noise, the Beakers recall the art school style of the Talking Heads. The flip side to the release of these aging songs is that this probably isn’t an album that will make any kind of incredible impact. The over-the-top art sound would have been a lot more exciting back when the once strongly focused punk scene was starting to splinter and morph. If it was released when the Beakers were having their day, before post-punk bands had a chance to be fully realised, it might have had more meaning. But by now, we’ve experienced so many other bands from this same era that are still being held onto, as well as the younger bands that have been influenced by their elders. This belated release lacks the persuasion of it predecessors, and is at best mediocre, destined to fall into the hands of history enthusiasts. (K)