While American artists have tried to capture the British sound for many years, their attempts to appropriate the English essence are generally as successful as coaxing an authentic shepherd's pie from Stove Top mix. More than 200 years ago, Paul Revere warned that the British were coming, and we were nervous. Thirty-something years ago, the Beatles arrived, and we were giddy. In the 1990s, when Oasis arrived, we were captivated, but after the 10,000th clone, we were repulsed.
Now this year, Be demonstrates that the British influence has forever left its mark on America, but the results don't have to smack of reheated porridge. The Dallas quartet's latest, Thistupidream, merges tried-and-true styles from across the pond with Collegetown, USA, dorm-room innocence. Tracks like "Confession" bring back the pop polish of the Monkees and wring it through a distortion pedal, while "The Corporal's Daughter" draws light to the band's vivid harmonies, which bounce through layers of chord progressions and airy moments that tingle at times and jingle at others. A solo cymbal picks up bass and guitar passengers along the title track's way, arriving at a place where the pop is far from flat and the imagery is at least three-dimensional. It has taken Be nearly four years to release the follow-up to its debut, Avalanche, but this was clearly time well spent.
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