Published Jan 31, 2014There's always been a simplistic charm to the Beets, the shambolic Brooklyn-based trio, and their plaintive, catchy lo-fi jams. On N.A.P North American Poetry, Beets frontman Juan Wauters strips down a typical Beets song to its most primal, shuffling state with largely fruitful results. Wauters trades the fuzz for a wistful, acoustic vibe while still retaining his sense of childlike wonder.
With The Beets, Wauters' appeal was based in his propensity to sing songs of empowerment, as if encouraging a child to give it their best effort, regardless of the results. It's often difficult to truly identify with Wauters' youthful sentiment though, as Beets songs have a tendency to crash to an unbearable finish. N.A.P North American Poetry is, at its best, tender and able to disarm with its pointed, two-minute tracks. Make no mistake: this is not Wauters stepping out on his own in a brave new direction. His voice still features very little range and is an acquired taste. Repetitive finger picking instead of three repetitive chords makes for a different kind of fun. The only real depth comes in the form of Israeli singer Carmelle Safdie and the buoyancy she adds with bedroom-ready harmonies.
"Lost In Soup" shuffles with a distinctly Latin feel and "Woke Up Feeling Like Sleeping" features Spanish dialogue over a riff that is as close to the Beets' sound as anything on the record. It's as if Wauters is harkening back to his time as a boy growing up in Uruguay and paying tribute to the songs, small and often unable to build as they may be, that first inspired him to pick up a guitar. (Captured Tracks)