» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Beati Paoli
Penny Dreadful
Barely Bias

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

October 27, 2006
The Beati Paoli were, according to legend, a secret society of Sicilians that protected the poor and downtrodden of medieval Italy. They donned black hooded cloaks, operated by cover of nightfall, and hid themselves from the law in the catacombs of Palermo. Their sole purpose was to protect commoners from both the church and the state, and, at some point, their sect faded into myth and memory. Gracing the cover of modern age Beati Paoli's debut EP, Penny Dreadful, is an ominous series of castle-like building and tall spires, something reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh's Prague in Kafka. The inside artwork is just as mysterious, illustrating two men, bound in rope, being lowered into a hole in the floor by an ominous black-robed group. These are striking images indeed. With all the intrigue of the album's wrappings, I was expecting a dark, evocative EP. I was disappointed, though, as Beati Paoli's effort is far from extraordinary, a fairly straightforward effort with little mystery to its music.

Penny Dreadful is a short, nineteen-minute post-punk/post-grunge EP, with quick, energetic tracks of guitar-driven, upbeat rock. There are hints of Placebo here, and even dashes of Green Day's less spastic material. Singer Gregory Goode reminds us vaguely of Brian Molko and the kinetic energy of "Every You Every Me," though Goode's vocals drift towards the nasal regions and are often overpowered by the instrumentation. His lyrics don't offer much introspection, either, though there are moments of wit. I especially liked his play between "history books" and "mystery books" on "E As In X-Ray."

"Belgian Congo," with its echoing vocals, is a highlight of the EP, and "Life During Wartime" is the other excellent track, with its surprising addition of strings battling with Scott O'Gara's military drumming during the bridge. Uciel's guitar work is solid, if not fairly standard, and there are missteps along the way, such as the use of an awful drum machine on "Ouroboros," from what appears to be a Casio keyboard akin to the one I had in the late-1980s, which was purchased from RadioShack.

Based on the mystery surrounding their name and Penny Dreadful's great album art, I was expecting something more elusive from Beati Paoli. But that's not what Beati Paoli is, or at least isn't yet. Still, as Beati Paoli matures as songwriters, they'll hopefully discover a voice of their own, one that is not so ordinary.

Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.

See other reviews by Eric J. Morgan



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