Beat Happening, Jamboree

Peter S. Scholtes

By Peter S. Scholtes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Lean and not mean, this is it, the classic of late ’80s indie “love rock.”

The beat music that longs for the '60s before drugs, and love before wisdom, is nonetheless radical — for their amped-up second album, Beat Happening take the Replacements 'line about music having too many notes literally. The absence of bass ingeniously emphasizes a powerful floor tom while the guitar distortion clears the head for straight talk and suggestive nonsense. Calvin's voice looms like a rockabilly ghoul, while Heather's skips rope. His "Indian Summer" became the oft-covered classic, but her "In Between" was the key song — a kind of bed-bouncing, punk rock house music for the subconscious. Only Public Enemy presented as great a challenge in 1988, or stands up so well.