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.