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Let's Get Simplified

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Album Review

Beaten Awake's downtrodden, low-key indie rock has the whiff of something simultaneously rural and esoteric about it. Humble guitar figures are often worried out in a tentative, Gray Album-era Velvet Underground fashion. The voices have a bit of a creak to them, and the lyrics continually suggest a kind of congenital sadness and wonderment. (Idaho seems to be a clear predecessor, whether intentional or not.) Even when the band works itself up into lather, as on the pounding groove of "Goin' Nowhere," there is something touchingly morose pulling things down around the edges. Beaten Awake's Let's Get Simplified is true "indie rock" in the sense of having an utterly original and appealing aesthetic — and with the full understanding that the term itself has come to mean something figurative and not literal (e.g., Modest Mouse remaining "indie rock" while signed to Capitol Records and topping the Billboard charts). The Ohio band hits high points here with the wistful, breezy, and pretty "Brownstone"; the soulful, dirge-like "Ghost Bought a Bicycle"; and the ominous, snaking "Tiger's Tale." This is an original, unusual, and melodic album, packed with wonderfully downplayed guitar accents and haunting lyrical intimations.


Formed: Kent, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Comprised of Ohio's underappreciated indie rock royalty, Beaten Awake continue to embrace the melodic experimentation that made their former bands so great. Featuring members of the Party of Helicopters, the Man I Fell in Love With, Harriet the Spy, and New Terror Class, the band has a seemingly unstoppable pedigree. The band was formed in 2005 by Kent rock veterans Allen Karpinski, Jon Finley, Ryan Brannon, and Joel McAdams, who found themselves working at the same bar and occasionally jamming together....
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Let's Get Simplified, Beaten Awake
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