THE BEATERSBAND – 52 Ways To Murder EP

The Beatersband’s third full length release – the aptly named ‘Vol Tre’, released in 2022 – was a really fun slab of punk ‘n’ roll. The Italian band put their own stamp on a variety of cover tunes ranging from Del Shannon to The Troggs, and although it could never claim to be “high art”, the DIY recording showed off some great bass work and enthusiastic vocals. In short, despite never aiming for perfection, the release made it easy to hear why fans of  punk and high energy rock ‘n’ roll might love these guys.

They returned in the summer of ’23 with a spirited cover of ‘Goodbye Eddie, Goodbye’ – originally from Brian De Palma’s musical-horror-comedy ‘Phantom of The Paradise’ – which paved the way for this punky, horror-themed EP. On ‘52 Ways To Murder’, The Beatersband play things very safely, knowing very well that a core of punk fans will instinctively love the idea of them cranking out some old Misfits tunes. However, that’s not to say the release is in any way lazy. On the short and sharp ‘She’, especially, the band’s direct sound serves up some winning punk.

There are two things that are immediately cool regarding ‘She’. As with the best bits of ‘Vol Tre’, those elements are the bass and vocals. Despite being a Misfits tune that seems to be a go-to for a lot of punk bands, The Beatersband make it their own by cranking up the distortion and contrasting that with an accessible vocal. Throughout the high octane seventy two seconds, Leonardo’s four strings grumble with intent, lending the uptempo riffs a furiously angry sound, whilst vocalist Donatella carries a very broad melody, adding her distinctive tones to Danzig’s familiar crooned melody. It never aims to capture any of the Beaters’ pure love for old rock ‘n’ roll, but in sharing their punkiest side, it’s a raw and frivolous recording that has more energy than some punk bands will ever muster.

In contrast, The Beatersband’s rock ‘n’ roll heart powers the brilliant ‘Saturday Night’ – an underrated post-Danzig Misfits cut – when the band latch onto a melody that sounds like a cross between ‘Tears On My Pillow’ and an aching ballad from The Ronettes. As you might expect, this gives Donatella plenty to curl her voice around, and a strong guitar tone carries an equally great riff. Aside from the vocal, the musical highlights come from a slow, twanging guitar that fills the bridge sections with an authentically 50s melody reworked in a fuzzed up CBGB’s tone. That’s so prominent that it’s easy to overlook the rhythm section, and drummer Ciao actually offers some great playing. He spends the whole track locking down a slower tempo with an unwavering strength – and for anyone who knows anything about drumming, its those slow, unfussy drum parts that are the hardest to maintain. With equal parts power and melody, and being a good showcase for Donatella, this is easily the EP’s best track, despite being a lesser loved Misfits number.

Originally released as a digital single in 2022, the version of ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’ is another great, punky workout where a repetitive riff sets up an ominous tone that’s unmistakably Misfits. Contrasted with a huge vocal, exploring a world of dark musical textures and rough harmonies, it becomes another strong vehicle for Beatersband. With even more of an overdriven sound, Leonardo often feels like he’ll be the strongest feature on this recording, but the focus shifts when the band hits the wordless middle eight and uses gang vocals to share a world of howls. Yeah, it’s kind of cheesy, lo-fi Halloween fare, but then the Misfits were never about high art, and the love these guys have for this track is obvious. With a much bigger production sound, Beatersband makes ‘Some Kinda Hate’ sound like a fuzzed up, horror rock tribute to ‘Teenage Kicks’ and, as you might expect by now, the dirty bass sound is king. Donatella’s vocals are a little wobbly at first, adding to a very natural sound and almost not reaching the force dictated by the bass, but a harmony filled chorus loaded with whoahs sets everything on track. Working through a distorted instrumental section, the recording isn’t shy in flaunting a DIY sound, and when heard not long after ‘Saturday Night’, there’s potential for it to fall a little short in the entertainment stakes. Nevertheless, The Beatersband give their all, and it works out fine enough. It’s hard to imagine this being a fan favourite, but in terms of pure, knockabout fun, it’s a decent addition to their catalogue of cover tunes.

Those who’ve followed The Beatersband since the digital release of ‘Vol Uno’ back in 2019 will have a fair idea of what to expect here. That doesn’t make these Misfits covers feel hacked out, of course, and on ‘She’ and ‘Saturday Night’, the band’s raw energy sounds as good as ever. It’s a real pleasure to hear a broad vocal in place of the old horror croon, and on most cuts, Donatella really projects her voice in a way that gives this familiar quartet of tunes a new energy. If you already like The Beatersband, this will make an invaluable addition to your collection. If you’ve yet to meet their musical acquaintance, this is a fun place to dive in.

October 2023