Wednesday 9 February 2011

Clandestine Classic XII - Dry The Rain

The twelfth post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

I've recently had cause to trawl back through some old posts on this blog, and it struck me that there are some things that just keep on cropping up. High Fidelity is one such thing, both the excellent book by Nick Hornby and the subsequent film adaptation starring John Cusack. I love both, and I've tried to explain why in the past - they speak to me about what it is to be a bloke, what it is to love music and what it is to be a record collector. Today's clandestine classic came to my attention via the aforementioned film, and I bought the soundtrack to get it. You see, there's a scene in the film where record store owner Rob (Cusack) says "I will now sell five copies of The Three EPs by The Beta Band" and he puts this on. Yes, from 1998, it's Dry The Rain by (obviously) The Beta Band.

You see, the scene from the film captures perfectly why this song is so great. Yes, it is so lo-fi that it really ought to be kept in a cellar, yes, it meanders on at some length and yes, I know that some of the vocals are indistinct to say the least. But none of that matters because, you see, this track grooves. It really is very hard not to sway whilst listening to it. It makes me tap things. It shuffles along infectiously. Oh, and it has deceptively catchy lyrics too, from the opening lines ("This is the definition of my life, lying in bed in the sunlight") to the closing refrain ("If there's something inside that you wanna say, Say it out loud it'll be okay, I will be your light"). It hooks you in, this song - it builds, it hooks you in and leaves its indie dance steps all over you. That, in case you were unsure, is a good thing.

According to their entry on Wikipedia (where I also learnt that the band formed in Edinburgh), The Beta Band called time in 2004, though frontman Steve Mason soldiers on solo, with success perhaps eclipsing that of his old band. I can thoroughly recommend the soundtrack to the film, by the way - it's excellent, not a bad track on it (make sure you get the original version, as linked above - it opens with A Town Called Malice by The Jam). I later bought The Three EPs as well (just as Rob had known I would). It's okay but, if I'm honest, nothing else on there measures up to Dry The Rain. If you're just after this one track then, the dodgy geezers amongst you may be interested in this, of which I, as ever, deny all knowledge. As for your watching pleasure, if you haven't already clicked the link above for a scene from the film of High Fidelity then I suggest you do ("It's good." "I know."). Alternatively, there's this: