This Betika article was written by Rosie Conning, a GIGsoup contributor
With a decade having passed since the Bournemouth based band released their first and only album to date ‘Halflove’, this will be an eye-opening introduction for some and a splash of nostalgia to others. Halflove examines the anxieties that we find associated with youth life, conducting a clever and imaginative play on hormonal, heart-wrenching relationships. This is all achieved with literate and meaty lyrics, masked by sunny music and an assortment of cheery instruments. To put this quirky ensemble into perspective for GIGsoup readers who haven’t yet been introduced to the Indie Pop collective that is Betika, just try to imagine that Belle and Sebastian spawned a lovechild.
The collective consists of seven members who released ‘Halflove’ as their first album all the way back in 2006; we are still eagerly awaiting their next. Dave and Carolyn stand at the forefront as musical equivalents, both equally matched in talent and vocal performance. The other five compose with such a wide array of instruments, from the glockenspiel to the trumpet, that the album almost relies on the vocals and harmonies to create a unity amongst the songs. The fact that each song is so individual and composed so differently really adds to the appeal of the album, because they all manage to blend into the same musical story. The ending of Robot blends deliciously into the urgent guitar of Supersub which gradually fuses into percussion. Musically, Betika’s album can appeal to a much wider audience than its indie pop label with such varying song styles, melodica to brass sounds to atmospheric keyboard in By Default. Yet the real acumen for this albums brilliance are the lyrics, crammed full of humour and witty wordplay.
Betika’s lyrics expose a brainstorm of ideas portraying the unusual and humorous thought processes that come with falling in love and those wince worthy relationships that we can reminisce over while lounging around to this album. ‘But we don’t touch lips though a bit of me wants to,’ Carolyn chirps in the album opener You Can Call Me Brother. The opening almost lures us into a false sense of security, but is soon followed by their first curse word, ‘and I’ll try my hardest but I’ll always fuck up,’ which really sets the tone for the unpredictable nature of what is yet to come. Throughout the album, the songs appear to become more bizarre, jam-packed with unique and gritty citations, particularly throughout Supersub which is darkened by provocative overtones, ‘You castrate me with your halflove, you have got me by the balls,’ Dave wails. The elated composition in juxtaposition with the meaty, unusual content is in itself a great interpretation of teenage life and the raw emotion that comes with early relationships. The positive outlook that we have about life whilst we battle between our head and our hearts.
Betika have all of the components of a truly exceptional band and it’s a great loss to the music industry that they didn’t realise their full potential and release another album, but we haven’t lost hope just yet! The seven piece ensemble are perhaps humble in the respect that they don’t know how talented they are; ironically this only makes them more intriguing. It is rare these days that a mixed gender band with a male and female artist at centre stage, have the appeal to make it big in the pop world, but Betika really do have that potential. There’s certainly a gap in the market for an act like Betika and here’s hoping that now could be the prime opportunity for their joyous reunion.