Beatnic Prestige E.P Review

Release Date 03-01-2009

The day had been tediously long and the walk home bitterly cold.For a Field Officer in Acts of Mayhem, these are the times that weary him most.The nights draw in fast; the mornings are blacker than Lucifer's heart and because of this banished light, nothing seems to be worthy of getting out of bed.However, awaiting me tonight, as I shuffled my way inside, was a hint that perhaps my antecedent scribed depressions were about to be cast aside.

Recently, Beatnic Prestige – a re-energised Mod / Punk / Indie four piece, hailing from the streets of Dunfermline – recorded and mastered their self-titled E.P in CaVa studios, Glasgow.Touted as one of Fife's finest, Beatnic consist of Jim McNab (Lead vocals / Guitar), Alan "Albo" Mills (Lead Guitar / Vocals), Billy "Butch" Underwood (Drums) and Lee "The Face" Christie (Bass).For the best part of 2008, Beatnic Prestige have undertaken many an adventure – in their now famous converted School Bus – to play scores of gigs up and down the country, not to mention festivals such as Wickerman and Feugh.The relentlessness of this band is formidable and, to ensure the heat doesn’t die down, with 20 or so dates pencilled in for January and February, 2009 is set to be nothing short of an amplified rampage of our “God given right to get high and be free.”

   Beatnic Prestige kicks off with the punchy hip-swinging, head-shaking “9 Clicks” – the name is derived from the infamous fact that each bottle of Buckfast takes nine clicks for the lid to come off and release its sweet tonic goodness.The intro grabs our attention immediately and builds till not even Ritalin can compete with it, but then we are dealt a serious of soothing vocals in the form of aaaaahhaahh’s.Do not for one second though think that mayhem is not on its way for, in but a moment, we are introduced to a classic set of ba babara bararararah’s, which will lead straight us into a boisterous serious of snap jab verses, designed to make us move and duck and dive to whatever scenario we’ve conjured up inside our heads.The chorus moves effortlessly in and spars with us delightfully round the living room / dance floor in order to keep us on our toes, but we keep our chins strong and our cheers loud and go with it – despite what the neighbours say – but then again, why wouldn’t we?In “9 Clicks”, Beatnic Prestige have picked a very strong and in your face song to impress on the listener as to why they won’t be going anywhere soon – save the fridge – to wash this blisteringly hot start down with a cold lager.

   Following suit to “9 Clicks”, “Pearfect” is next to be cranked out of our speakers and the tempo has in no way been turned down in any shape or form – much to my delight.Again, like “9 Clicks”, “Pearfect” is a finely tuned and incredibly well constructed rowdy and disorderly 16 pint pitcher of refreshing carnage that is best served amongst a large group of your best care free mates.Make no mistake though, that although a band dedicated to the “East End bounce” through and through, Beatnic Prestige has in their reserves, the powers of a poignant and heartfelt lyric.Efforts such as “Take the time to think of no-one else, and regret the life spent on yourself” should not be allowed to slip us by in their real life tales of our day to day life in the noughties.

The penultimate revitalised and now intensely intimate “Charlie Brown” is packed to the rafters with reasons as to why the Beatnic are not just a one track horse like so many bands of this genre out there.This contemplative look at life on the dole is subtly illustrated by effective key changes to bring in lines like “I would like to try your situation, unemployed, on the dole but on vacation”, followed up by “First in line, at the time to grab promotion, for the boy, at the front with more devotion”.There is no two ways about it; Charlie Brown is the stand out track on this E.P.It definitely – for me – has a throw back to our beloved Brit Pop days, with O.C.S’s “Robin Hood” being the nearest comparison I can find.It modern times though, Charlie Brown could realistically do for Beatnic Prestige what “Face for the Radio” has done for the The View.

Finally we meet “Doubtfire” and what a way to end to a phenomenally produced two day stint of recording, drinking and banter – all without a hint of Robin Williams by the way.Opening with a once again in your face structure of barre chords and a guitar solo – that would even knock Danny Dyer clean out – is the youth-orientated soundtrack of every single town and city’s evening high street, pub and taxi rank.I challenge anyone to claim they have never heard the infamous 8pm conversation in McDonalds or by the cash machine: “What’s the dress code tonight? Is the short skirt, long hair, open toed sandal wear alright? Can I tag along with you tonight?”.It’s lyrically funny because it’s true and, on that note, it’s more than testament to Beatnic Prestige’s song writing skills.The fact that they can cite the factual accuracies of everyone’s toon in such an energetic and brawer than braw way is half the appeal in this song.

Beatnic Prestige are a musically and streetwise intelligent band – perhaps more so in the latter reflection – and this E.P goes a long way to show it.It’s plain from the opening that these are four finely tuned musicians who have an ear for exactly what they want – and more importantly – what their fans want out of their music.One of the main things I appreciated was Albo’s guitar work - which is ferociously dedicated throughout, but his flamboyant skill only rears its head when it’s ready to emphasize a song rather than steal its thunder.They’re a band that works as a band, play as a band, and drink as a band and in terms of this E.P are a band that are to be reckoned with.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, The Jam managed to capture everything in their music that summed up what it is to be English.In the same turn of events, with the songs that Beatnic Prestige are writing, I think they’ve caught the spirit of what it is to be a Fifer and if the Beatnic have got anything to do with it, 2009 will be the megaphone that is used to spread these tales of Fife up and down the country.

As a side note, you may be interested to learn that there is a wee surprise for everyone 6 minutes and ten seconds in to track 4, but until you buy the E.P on the 3rd of January, the Beatnics secret’s safe with me…

Tomas Bird

The Real State Magazine