August 1999 – EP reviews – The Rob Beadle Triangle Band’s ‘A Different Kettle of Fish’ (“embarrassment, misadventures and eccentric desires “)

2 Aug

The Rob Beadle Triangle Band: 'A Different Kettle of Fish'

The Rob Beadle Triangle Band: ‘A Different Kettle of Fish’

Duck past the appalling name and the two obvious sub-Goodies joke tracks on here, and you’ll find there’s more to The Rob Beadle Triangle Band than their comedy-schtick image.

Yes, they’re student types from the University of Bath, laden down with flash gear and a taste for laddish zaniness that’s very British, very ’70s. No, that’s not all. Like Barenaked Ladies, the Bonzos and Frank Zappa (or Prince, if he’d had slapstick leanings), they’re musically skilled and canny enough to leap seamlessly between pop styles and come up with songs which can exist both as piss-takes and as serious efforts; regardless of the goofy laughter which comes with them.


 
If you picked key comparisons, they’d be the “belly-laughs, angst-quirks, ‘n’ serious playing” ethic of the long-lost 64 Spoons, or 10cc’s keen and unerring collective ear for tunes and parody filtered through studiedly cheesy wit – hence the near-perfect Bee Gees disco pastiche on The Face. Embarrassment, misadventures and eccentric desires are the Beadle boys’ main obsession. Nude gardening, suddenly finding your mum’s the star player in the porn film your friends are watching – that sort of thing.


 
The Bitch Grated My Thumb jumps between Jeff Lynne wussiness and panicky thrash; a tale of picking up a deranged bag-lady (“come to me, picture of beauty – lying in the gutter’s no place to be”) and of subsequently suffering assault by kitchenware. She Had No Teeth kicks off with ‘Mission Impossible’ kettledrums and rampaging funk-wah guitar, and deals with the horror of waking up next to the woman you’ve pulled and discovering her gums are as bare as Patrick Stewart’s scalp. As the band clatter on, whooping away on their Theremin synths, glassy jazz-funk organ riffs and Funkadelic party racket, a girl-group chorus airily sings “Things were different last night – she looked like a siren, he had his beer-goggles on” – while an anguished muffled voice yelps “Why me? Why me?”.


 
It’s all delivered with crisp production and flashes of superb musicianship (Hendrix/Hazel/Isleys-styled guitar, expert polyrhythmic drumming and keyboard swirls, Kristian Wood’s crucially light touch on voice and bass), and taking care not to let the silliness derail the winning flutter of pop. Thankfully, they’re closer to Space or Poisoned Electrick Head than to Barron Knights. The wiggly You Are Confusing Me sounds like the young Julian Cope spouting gibberish Gong lyrics, giggling his socks off in front of OMD synth overload.


 
And something better is hinted at by the quite lovely Strawberries and Cream. With flowing Spanish guitar, dancing flute lines and puffs of tremulous falsetto harmonies, it sounds like pastoral-period XTC and – in mischievous Andy Partridge tradition – is a lyrical love-song for food-fetishists, Kristian delicately murmuring “you, you’re the sweetest thing I’ve seen – / let me cover you with cream (and strawberries). / We could find new ways of keeping clean, / let me lick you til you gleam (and sparkle).”

A pocket 10cc, then, with an even more warped sense of humour, writing songs for a cleaned-up ‘Viz’.

The Rob Beadle Triangle Band; ‘A Different Kettle of Fish’
Teeth Records, RBTB 9901 (Barcode)
CD-only EP
Released:
2nd August 1999
Get it from: (2020 update) Original EP best obtained second-hand; stream via Spotify
The Rob Beadle Triangle Band online:
Last FM YouTube Spotify Amazon Music
 

One Response to “August 1999 – EP reviews – The Rob Beadle Triangle Band’s ‘A Different Kettle of Fish’ (“embarrassment, misadventures and eccentric desires “)”

  1. Dann Chinn September 7, 2020 at 12:56 pm #

    Although they did go on to release an (inevitable) comedy Christmas single later in 1999, The Rob Beadle Triangle Band are long gone, although someone obviously cared enough to upload all of their tracks to YouTube in 2015. I’ve no idea what happened to all of the members (although I suspect that this was what their drummer and producer ended up doing – https://www.mattnolancustomcymbals.com), but there was some serious all-round talent behind the gags.

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