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VHS or Beta

Diamonds and Death (Krian Music Group)

Reviewed by Luke Winkie, Fri., March 16, 2012

SXSW 2012 Records

VHS or Beta

Diamonds and Death (Krian Music Group)

You've got to give VHS or Beta credit. There aren't a lot of other bands embracing goofy, spandex-smut disco in the 21st century, especially none originally from Louisville, Ky., (now Brooklyn, naturally). From the members' hair, press photos, and record sleeves, the quartet has never seemed even slightly bothered with relative hipness. The band's third album and first in four years, Diamonds and Death, continues the group's odyssey through indulgent, kaleidoscopic dance-music pastiche, straying farther and farther from guitar grooves. Willfully playful and almost thoroughly absent of a straight face, VHS or Beta unleashes vocoder-heavy laser beams ("Under the Sun") and lodes to warehouse rave's endless nights ("I Found a Reason"). Sure, it all lacks substance, but that's expected; VHS or Beta has always sounded like a live band making sterilized albums. Since dry ice and light shows don't show up on tape, Diamonds & Death was written for an audience but not the listener. (Thu., 1am, the Iron Bear)

**

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