Think about it, an Asiatic capital vista. If you’re a dumb American like me, you may have trouble naming an Asiatic capital, let alone envisioning what one would like. Still, I want you to stick with that image.
Now, take a listen to the grand, sweeping movements of Beaten by Them’s “The Asiatic Capital Vista,” and the vision should start to come into focus — old world charm, a rocky coast line, slightly swaying, clear blue water, and maybe an old man or two, with tight, weathered skin, trolling patiently on a rickety fishing boat. Guitarists Andrew Harris and Max McCormick, and cellist Boima Tucker make everything sound so perfect and so picturesque.
Yet, old world charm, often means old world problems and old world suffering by those left behind by modern times. The guitars become more pointed, the volume inches upwards, and crash. Our view isn’t so perfect, maybe those fishermen haven’t eaten for days. Maybe, the town sitting just off the coast, isn’t quite so charming after all. Poor ain’t pretty.
Then, the calm returns, and the cello builds stronger and stronger, making those jagged guitars not so threatening. That’s another thing about the old world. It has the perseverance of centuries and centuries of culture on its side, the perseverance which strengthens the hearts and souls of its people. A quiet determination which makes an empty fishing boat an all right place to be.
MP3: Beaten by Them – The Asiatic Capital Vista
Signs of Life by Beaten by Them is out now on Thrill Jockey.