Call it nostalgic crate digging.
Except easier: a rediscovery of the good stuff initially found by those who had good ears at the time, and left it in a bin marked “kool stuff” at the garage sale on the corner.
What many had to sift through, what was appreciated in the ’80s, directed by some tastemakers and, on a broader, more mainstream level, heard through the Hughes-esque goggles of a PG-matinee, Southland Cinemas-screening, is now getting loved again and used as an influence — the good of what was slogged through by Hughes, by others, is now being plucked from the actual excellent slag heap of history from which it came.
And being brought forth by acts such as Calgary’s John Bender-Brian Johnson, retro indie-rock hybrid betaboys.
The tasty quintet is one of those acts whose ears are in the right place, in the discount bin at Kelly’s or Mister Sound, where the good stuff often was and those in the know would direct us to.
Their first single, So Shy (the title, itself, having Kajagoogooesque implications), is the initial taste of of something larger, recorded with Calgary producer and artist Chris Dadge (Lab Coast, Samantha Savage Smith) for their debut EP, coming this spring.
It’s the culmination of bassist and songwriter Scott Perrin’s initial vision for betaboys, one he’s been working on since he first came up with the idea for the act, between 2016 and 2017.
“I had always wanted to do a new wave pop band,” says Perrin. “One of my first inspirations was The Cars … Ricky Ocasek is my guy.”
The songwriter spent the next couple of years making his own demos, while collecting together, through mutual loves, a backing band: Brett Sandford on vocals; Thomas Englund on guitar and backup vocals; Davis de Souza on keyboard and synth; and ubiquitous #yyc skinsman Sean Hamilton.
All brought together under the umbrella of what they should be doing, “on the fun side of new wave.”
As for the song itself, the punchy, angular assault on your catchy, melodic, ’80s pop-rock existence, it’s built on the promise of a band that has been here for awhile and for all the right reasons.
“All the guys, we get along really, really well and we have a lot of fun with this band,” Perrin says.
“So Shy, I think, is one of those songs that really personifies that best of us, so far.”
Betaboys wanted the bubbly chorus of the tune to be “super fun, and unpretentious, and just be like a Wham! or a Hall and Oates or a … Culture Club thing, and have it be fun …” — yet smarter, harder and stiffer.
Like digging through an already OKed batch of excellence that came together quickly, from a place of positivity.
“I wrote the verses and then I wrote the chorus, I think maybe a couple of weeks, maybe a month later — and, I don’t know, it was kind of random …,” Perrin says. “I just thought this could be something really fun. And, again, that’s the big message of this song, it’s just meant to be fun, new-wave pop or whatever you want to classify it as.”
That’s where we come down.
Enjoy and hear the single and its official premiere on theYYSCENE.com, with more soon to follow.