These four Scots, now based in London, have been darlings of the British music weeklies for the last few years. Generally that's reason enough to dismiss a band outright, but I'm slightly charmed by their audacity. They're frequently compared to Beck, but they sorely lack his precision: on both The Three E.P.'s, a compilation of the band's earlier, out-of-print recordings, and the new Beta Band (Astralwerks) they mix Kinks-like hooks, haphazard breakbeats, electronic squelches and twitters, psychedelic guitar jams, British music-hall takeoffs, mediocre rapping, and just about anything else you can think of, and they do it with such abandon that on the first few listens I felt like I was panning for gold in the ocean. But the good stuff surfaces eventually, and the players--Stephen Mason on guitar and vocals, Richard Greentree on bass, Robin Jones on drums, and John McLean on decks and samples--reportedly make sense of the hodgepodge live. This is their Chicago debut. Wednesday, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. Peter Margasak
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Spencer Jones.