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The best kept secret in music


As you listen to Dance Dance Baby's title track and take in its exhilarating mix of dancefloor artsiness and NY-style jaded rockism, it's impossible to repress thoughts about reappropriation, authorship, musical quotation and originality in modern music. It's an effective crash course in new wave revivalism: pounding drums, a herky-jerky guitar intro, a bass line that may well have been sampled from Is This It and an icy, seductive Teutonic vocal (from singer-guitarist Alison Galea) that recalls obscure British postpunk diva Toyah Wilcox and early eighties Siouxsie. In fact, it takes contemporary dancepunk's postmodern recontextualization to new heights: it's like that memorable Borges character, Pierre Menard, who aspired to (re-)write Don Quixote again, word by word, exactly the way Cervantes first did. Beangrowers boldly go beyond that extreme by reversing the method and suppressing the need for the originals. Forget about sounding like an eighties band -- just become The Strokes instead.
The Maltese (!) band enjoys an ample sound palette and touches upon an eclectic array of styles, covering Goo-era Sonic Youth (opener "The Farewell Party"); noisy Liars-affiliated sinister swing ("You Are You Are", and especially the gloomy "Analyze", thanks to its huge, monstrous fuzzy bass); seedy, jazzy noir narratives; and dark, angular No-Disco visions in the spirit of The Rapture or Hot Hot Heat.

Beangrowers' main selling point, their Shirley Manson-meets-Gang of Four/Garbage-with-an-edge update of the female-led alternative band ideal that never really delivered the goods the first time around, has excellent potential for a major breakthrough. Let's hope the media will be reasonable enough to give them a shot.

- Marco Rivera -

It has been three long years of anticipation since our beloved, three-piece local partisans “Beangrowers” came up with something new for us to indulge ourselves in.

So, enough with the suspense ladies and gentlemen… they have at last, hauled in their latest catch with a brand new full-length studio recording.

Recorded at Temple Studios, and entitled “Dance Dance Baby”, the third album depicts a bright collage of raw and guitar-fuelled, warm and sultry exhibits.

Untying themselves from the four-album record deal signed way back in 1999 with Rough Trade Records, which has recently been taken over by the colossal BMG, the Beangrowers have decided to circulate the album under several adolescent labels – to be precise one in every territory of release.

“The Farewell Party” opens the band’s box of tricks with clean and silky instrumentation backed by the gentle and alluring voice of front woman, Alison Galea. The singer definitely has attitude and digests the likes of Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, Belly) in her contributions.

Another point of reference which portrays a subtle and soothing atmosphere is assimilated through the gentle strumming of “Waiting”, whilst “The Priest” enters with gloomy but loungy bass and drums leading to occasional distorted-guitar breaks. The latter track has been selected for the original soundtrack of ‘Land of Plenty’ by acclaimed film director Wim Wenders.

The twelve new cuts have recently been showcased and promoted through a 10 day tour by the band in Austria and Hungary, which were well-received by the audiences.

“It is always really refreshing to play gigs abroad where things are done properly from A to Z and as artists, we are treated very well. This does not mean we aren’t appreciated here… It’s just that Malta has yet to experience a proper gig culture because we lack the venues for it. We love playing here too because we feel that every single concert is important.

Our tour was terrific and for us it’s great to finally have an album released to promote while playing abroad. For example, playing in Vienna is like being at home for us. Our devoted fans there, never miss our shows… it’s such a nice feeling.

The Austria and Hungary tour was just a warm-up for what’s to come.

With regards to promoting the album in Malta, the local radio stations have been incredibly supportive – this helps us immensely. We’re also playing a few concerts.

With regards “The Priest” - we’ve obviously been very lucky to have been included on this prestigious soundtrack. We still haven’t seen this film and are dying of curiosity! In a nutshell, Wim Wenders heard this song and loved it, thinking it’s perfect for a part of the film. To be on the same soundtrack as David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Travis, etc is one of our dreams come true.” explained Alison.

Title track “Dance Dance Baby” and “Star in Monaco” are radio-friendly pop melodies, wrapped up by catchy choruses, and bubbly rhythms. These kind of “Beangrowers-pop” songs are capable of accommodating new listeners and maybe penetrating further markets in the music industry. They however, yield a slight sprawl from the indie-rock flank of their music and perhaps disengage with the kind of listener who might be expecting more from the darker side of the band. Nonetheless, as one of their requisites, all of the Beangrowers’ albums contain a few more ‘accessible’ songs… “We felt that the album needed them”, were the remarks by the vocalist.

The first single taken off the album, “You are you are” and the exceptional “I like you” are presented through an upbeat tempo of jagged and prickly guitars enfolded by profound basslines, highlighted by an appealing refrain. A video clip for the single has also been released.

Songs like “Waltz” and “Lucky Luca” are once again softer, more vulnerable and more soulful, exposed by the intimate singing and the delicate guitar build-ups. The former, waltzes through a seesaw rhythm of gentle tunes whilst the latter, commences with a lengthy instrumental intro followed by warm and whispered vocals.

‘Russian Boulevard’ is a fine collection of vital and swift tunes, delivered with the vim and vigour of a dynamic band, whilst the peak of the album is paraded through the striking sounds of ‘Analyse’. It is definitely one of their most original tracks ever, flaunted in the course of low down and muddy riffs, strong drumming and murky basslines, fastened by the high-pitched shrieks of the vocalist, placing the song as one of the album’s definite high points.

“This album is the one we stand behind most as a band. We are very pleased with the outcome and think that the songs are the strongest and most mature we’ve ever written. For those who have heard our last album, they’ll be able to hear a big difference especially with the sound of the new tracks, which are more raw and direct with no frills. Being a 3-piece band and a very minimalist one at that, it was important - JJ Formosa - The Sumday Times

As a general rule, a debut album should showcase the potential of a band, while the second is a further maturation of that potential. By the third offering everything is realized and world domination awaits the band.
With this in mind, local heroes and exports, The Beangrowers are here with their third album ‘Dance Dance Baby’. Whereas the debut ‘48K’ was guitar-based and their sophomore self-titled album focused more on electronic pop, the third is a bit of a return to their roots, only far more incisive.
The beanies still have their trademark sound; from outrageously poppy moments such the title track and closer ‘16,18’ to their dark and brooding numbers which definitely deserve more speculation.
‘The Priest’ comes complete with thumping drums, a toe-tapping beat and a slinky rhythm. The song builds up and increases in tempo but never losing that head-nodding drum sound. Its simply great and the best thing they’ve ever done so far. It is also going to be on the upcoming Wim Wenders film ‘Land of Plenty’ so be prepared – it could well become a household name. Another highlight is ‘Waltz’ – marvellous and enchanting, a chorus big enough to fill a valley, and dizzy, swirling violins. Yes it’s a HUGE song, huge enough to out-bond a James Bond theme. As in ‘The Priest’ it brings put the many capabilities of the band.
With two great tunes as the above, its easy for the rest of the album to shrink in comparison. Fortunately everything balances out as there are so many great songs and consistency is maintained throughout, making ‘Dance Dance Baby’ a thoroughly enjoyable listen. A good number of these songs could be potential singles – I’d single out ‘Star in Monaco’ and the title
track (which is pop of the highest order).
‘Dance Dance Baby contains a variety of moods and that is why everythings works so well - asides ‘The Waltz’, other slow songs would be the opener ‘The Farewell Party’ and the instrumental ‘Lucky Luca’.
The beanies sound tighter than ever and Alison’s voice is losing that childlike naive tone (although that in itself wasn’t a bad thing) and on tracks such as ‘Analyze’ her vocal range is expanding. Yes the Beanies have grown up (or rather sprouted) in more ways than one and this album is definitely a testament to that.
So will ‘Dance Dance Baby’ go anywhere? I would say a yes to that - this album has trodded on some of the best I’ve heard this year. Having wowed audiences at SXSW earlier this year and with new shores on the horizon, the world is The Beangrowers oyster (or shoot or whatever)
- Robert Pisani

Beangrowers are from Malta. Most American listeners, who have a hard time acknowledging the existence of bands from anywhere other than the US, Canada or the UK, will smile and nod upon receiving this information, primarily because only one in five Americans under the age of thirty knows that Malta is a country. And I'm being charitable there.
Other than their somewhat less than marketable name, there's nothing particularly "international" (in the world music sense) about Beangrowers, and certainly nothing overtly Maltese. Their sound is polished and sophisticated, mixing the glossy, technofied pop of Garbage with the claustrophobic angst of Portishead and the glittery, bouncy joy of...oh, I don't know -- Papas Fritas, perhaps, or pretty much any pop act that's come out of Sweden in the last three years. On Beangrowers, they demonstrate a knack for unexpected and compelling musical choices: they pull off creepy goth-pop in "Last Chance Butcher", add a bit of electronic glitter to gloomy mope-rock on "The Place Where Lost Things Go" (check out the Sisters of Mercy bassline!) and crossbreed Bis with a heavily caffeinated update of the B-52s' raucous party vibe for "Teen Titans". As "José Clemente" ably demonstrates, Beangrowers are skilled at infusing their timeless compositions with an energizing jolt of modern electronic filigree; they're certainly nowhere near Radiohead's level of complexity, but their ideas skew in a more mainstream-friendly direction. And on top of that, they're all young and good-looking, which never seems to hurt when you're trying to sell records.

Prognosis: If Beangrowers find an American label that's willing to actually put some promotional muscle behind their music, you'll be hearing them on the radio within a year. Perhaps they'll even inspire American fans to find Malta on the map.

- George Zahora

The arrival of a new Beangrowers album is always an occasion to treasure, at least that’s how it’s been for me ever since the release of the threesome’s effervescent 48k debut, which showcased the band’s knack for left of centre melodies. Its self-titled successor, on the other hand, focused less on energy and more on synergy, but still celebrated that melodic twist with discreet yet firm flair. This time around, as the title might suggest, the Beanies may be after more than the usual indie audience, and perhaps they are even after getting the listeners to do more than just tap their toes to the beat.

The signs that this album is packing a lot more punch are right there from the opening track, Farewell Party. Current single You Are You Are and the title track confirm this solidly, weaving their way in between power, melody and the band’s own particular alternative style. Waiting comes across as a flowing breezy tune that made me think back to 48k, while The Priest shifts focus towards a completely diverse plane, its dark strut landing the Beanies a place on the soundtrack for Wim Wenders’ latest movie, Land of Plenty.

It is however, the album’s title track and I Like You that steal the show here. Dance Dance Baby is as powerful as Genzora, Teen Titans and Astroboy all rolled into one, but has an equally potent air of grace about it that rises above any other upbeat Beanie song to date, while I Like You’s playful PJ glint makes it the band’s ultimate pop song. Overall, the new album actually sounds more like the sequel to 48k that the eponymous second album could have been. It has a similar balance of highs and lows and shares much of 48k’s musical references and indentation, although this time around the end result is a more refined product. It would seem that the Beanies’ busy live schedule has given them time to revisit, rediscover and reapply the singular elements that made them stand out from the rest in the first place!

Recommended weblink:

- Mike Bugeja - The Malta Independent

Malta has a population of 400,000, with a ratio of more males to female. According to the CIA fact book its size is slightly less than twice that of Washington DC. It was one time part of the British Commonwealth but gained independence in 1964. Located between the coasts of North Africa and Sicily on the Mediterranean Ocean it is part of an archipelago consisting of five islands, Malta being the largest. Ravaged by Napoleon and standing firm against Hitler so much so that the island was awarded the illustrious George Cross. I could go on in great detail about many more things about Malta but at least it gives a slight insight into this tiny traditional island. Why then mention all this you might ask, well firstly because not a lot of people know about Malta, oh sure they’ve heard of it, but give them a globe of the world and many, I dare say, would struggle to find it. Secondly, and more importantly I venture to add, this tiny island is the home to the trio Beangrowers.

The Beangrowers are one of life’s little mysteries; two albums already under their collective belt (‘48k’ and ‘Beangrowers’) the band were originally signed to the German division of Rough Trade until they were bought out by BMG. Two years on from the release of their second album and the Beangrowers now find themselves the victims of major label downsizing. The trio have had a spate of top 20 hits in their own country and in New Zealand, plus awards for their videos and weighty support slots for artists such as Tindersticks, Elbow and Fun Loving Criminals (though we won’t hold that against them just yet).

Well that’s the geography and history lesson done with, so what about the music. This superb five-track work in progress CD shows talent enough to suggest they won’t be sitting on the shelf to long gathering dust. If you need reference points think Belly, in particular Tanya Donelly, add in some really early classic Polly Harvey and the faintest of touches of the Delgados and Melys, and I am not kidding when I mention these artists, this CD really is that good. There’s no doubt that a keen attention is paid to the development of the tracks and it tells, this lot haven’t just been thrown down, the polished effects are evidence of that. Fronted by the pixie like Alison, she ably commands and controls the moods of the songs sometimes heartbreakingly stinging with subtle edges of bitter respite as on the wooing rumble of ‘Waiting’ while at others gloomily menacing as on ‘Druggy / Analyse’ or hip swinging groovy as found on ‘I like you’.

In fact its ‘I like you’ that opens the set, a wonderfully needling bass underpins the whole thing while devilishly delivered stinging riffs dart urgently across the surface as though the Pixies are jamming with ‘Planet Claire’ era B-52’s, cool stuff. ‘Stop Heart’ cleverly works with a similar rhythmic undercurrent as Kylie’s monster hit ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ the snaking bass just reels you in while the sensual flows wrap longingly around you while for an inspired touch the sophisticated icy gloss of the more reflective moments of Goldfrapp’s ‘Felt Mountain’ sizzle throughout. ‘Druggy / Analyse’ starts out with the same macabre pseudo post punk menace as befitting the Banshees ‘Scream’ sessions before developing into a slow looping lazy eyed groove which by the end cracks beneath its own oppression sounding like a thoroughly wretched PJ Harvey. ‘Russian Boulevard’ and I don’t know why, sounds to these ears like a bullfighter stand off, a prickly punk pop number with a tasty swerving hook line that sits somewhere between Belly’s ‘Gepetto’ and the Breeders ‘Cannonball’. Best track of the set is the bitter sweet introspective glare of ‘Waiting’ passing breezily with the gentlest of touches as driving arrangements sparkle with lulling effect, really how can you resist.
- Mark Barton

Beangrowers are a band from Malta, a small country near Italy as near as my limited geographical knowledge would indicate. They merge the flavor of a European pop band in with a kind of new-wavey American pop feel for a result that's leaps and bounds ahead of their previous and debut album. Foresaking the more No Doubt style of pop on their debut, this album is more mature and sexy, in a way.

Undoubtedly the band's best feature, lead singer Alison Galea has the perfect female vocals, sexy and sultry when it needs to be yet capable of driving a more rocking track. She also plays the keyboards, which are used extensively throughout, lending the album its Europop feel. Along with slick guitar and drums that go from powerful rock to sounding more like a drum machine, and you get a fine album that mixes pop with a kind of aggressive feel ala Garbage or Sneaker Pimps. It's a good combination.

The opener, "This Year's Love," is a mix of 70's style keyboards and mechanized drumming, tied together by those sultry vocals and making a nice-feeling Europop song, subtle yet sexy. It's followed by the more upbeat and catchy "Teen Titans," the album's first single and a catchy, slightly Garbage-y rock song with some fantastic percussion and wild keyboard lines. A little slower and more deliberate, "Whitman" seems to have more of a European sound, and Galea sounds so sexy as she sings, "and then you dream of me for all eternity." Some nice bass and a up-tempo rhythm makes "Ranchero" one of the more rocking tracks here, contrasted by the ultra-quiet, slightly loungy feel of "Calliope."

One of my favorite tracks is the playful "Waikiki." With a bouncy, lounge-poppy feel, fantastic vocals, and cool retro keyboards, it has a wonderful ambience. "Love Out There" reminds me of a more sultry Depeche Mode (with a female singer), while "Jose Clemente," with soft horns and a more leisurely pace (and incredibly catchy chorus that mentions a rhinoceros) is a bit more poppy. Showing off another side of their versatility, the haunting piano and effects-laden vocals of "The Devil's Drum Box" give the song something of a gothic feel. And the band ends with the quieter "The Place Where Lost Things Go," which vaguely reminds me of a Placebo song with some neat effects.

Beangrowers hope to release this album in the US, and I predict it could do well. It has that kind of English-American slightly new-wavey pop feel that would go over well with fans in either country, and the production is top notch. But even if it doesn't make it to the states and radio, I'm still happy with this find. Mature and clever pop songs such as these are a rare find.
- Jeff Marsh -

If you like your pop rock short, sharp and to the fuzz-guitar driven point, then you'll love the Beangrowers - Malta's answer to Spiderbait, Elastica and all other purveyors of explosive, melody-drenched music. Cameron Officer says "Hello from New Zealand," and they say "Hello" back
"You're about the fifth person we've talked to from New Zealand," says Beangrowers drummer Ian Schranz... or possibly it's bass and synth exponent Mark Sansone. I know it's one of the two, but I can't be sure which one. In the rush of introductions made over the phone, I never really work out which voice is which.

Naturally I avoid using their specific names over the next 15 minutes - that is unless I'm talking to lead guitarist and 'keeper of the angelic vocal chords' Alison Galea. I can spot her voice remarkably easily. I can be quite perceptive when I want to be, you see.

To make things even more chaotic, I'm speaking to the three members of indie power pop trio Beangrowers by way of a conference call, and they're calling from their homes in Malta. Oh yeah, they're Maltese... did I mention that already?

Must be another one of those bands from the Maltese indie scene, I hear you say sarcastically. Well, you really would be saying that if the band had their way.

"There is quite a supportive scene here actually," states Ian or Mark, speaking excellent English with what sounds like a French accent (while the Beangrowers have already spent time talking to antipodeans on numerous occasions, this is the first time I've ever spoken to someone from Malta).

"We play a lot here in Malta - especially in the summer. We get about a million tourists through Malta a year so there are always people in the bars and clubs. Quite a lot of people turn out for your shows, and there are plenty of other cool bands in Malta too."

Mark (I'm pretty sure it's Mark) goes on to mention a couple of names to watch out for, but a combination of accent, crackling phone lines and my glacial writing speed prevent me from copying them down effectively. Politeness dictates that I move on. It's 1.00am in the picturesque port city of Valletta and the band has stayed up especially for my call - I'm not about to detain them any longer than I have to by asking for the spelling of obscure band names.

Speaking of obscure, chances are you won't have heard of the Beangrowers. Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't either. That's no 'cave dwelling' miracle though, as outside of Europe, New Zealand is one of the only countries to have picked them up. If Zomba have their way, the Beangrowers will be the next... well, big thing.

Sounding like an even further off-kilter Spiderbait by way of Kate Bush, Joy Division and The Cure, Beangrowers are a fuzz-guitar wielding, analogue synth punishing three piece who - on their newly released self-titled album - create some punchy, hook-laden songs linked together by Alison Galea's beautifully sweet vocals. The 12 track album starts off with a beatbox roar on "This Year's Love", and you may have heard first single "Teen Titans" on student radio. By the midway section, however, the tracks show up a darker side to the band.

The new album is one of those that gets better with repeated listens. A melancholic tone here, a surging chorus there, a vintage stab of synth everywhere - Beangrowers will... well, grow on you.

"There are a lot of sounds on there - some are poppy and some are more melancholic, yes," they say. "With three people all writing lyrics and music you are bound to get a lot of different sounds, which we think is really important."

"We are big fans of some of those bands like Stereolab, The Sundays and Elbow - bands where the keyboards sit prominently in the mix. In fact we just finished touring with Elbow, which was fantastic," states one of the Beangrower lads.

"On our first album," continues Alison, "we were younger - perhaps about 19 - and we just wanted to get in the studio and get out again as soon as possible. With this one we thought 'Well, we had better put some time into it so that in a year we still love the result'.

"We've grown up a lot between albums I think. We've learnt how to put our synthesizers to better use now too," she adds with a laugh.

Listening to the Beangrowers album, one would perhaps come to the conclusion that a lot of tape looping and overdubbing work has gone into the production. That couldn't be further from the truth, however, as the band insisted that this sort of en vogue studio manipulation should be kept to a minimum.

"What you hear on the album and what you hear live are very similar," states a male Beangrower. "Perhaps it's a little more guitar driven live, but we try to keep it similar."

So do the Beangrowers face the same 'location' issues that have forced so many New Zealand bands to move overseas?

"No not really," says Alison. "The great thing about living here is that it's about a two hour flight to London. You can - Cameron Officer

The Beangrowers are the biggest musical export ever to come from the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta, and the band has made inroads into Germany, Hungary, and Austria where Dance Dance Baby, their most current release and third overall, has been firmly ensconced on the national alternative charts alongside The Libertines, Interpol, and Nick Cave. Also, their song "The Priest" was included on the soundtrack of Wim Wenders' new film Land of Plenty, which also includes tracks by David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, as well as on the Glow Boy compilation released by US-based indie label 7Records. Dance Dance Baby, (available in the US from, shows great maturation in both the band's songwriting and understanding of its own strengths. They sound more focused and confident with a stripped-down sound that uses empty spaces to create an engaging sound full of atmosphere and tension. "The Farewell Party" opens establishing the basic formula with Alison Galea's sparse guitar riffs and sultry vocals building into a terrific chorus before pulling back again. "You Are You Are" follows with a harder edge and attitude. The breezy "Waiting" follows before the aforementioned "The Priest," which has a similar structure to "The Farewell Party" but with a cool bass riff as the foundation and a slow building crescendo that makes the chorus that much bigger and more powerful. From there, the band shows its pure pop side (the title track), a mellower side ("Waiting" and "Lucky Luca"), and snarling intensity ("Analyze") before "16. 18" closes everything on a lighter note with a welcome lead vocal turn by drummer Ian Schranz. Though they have made a couple of brief trips to the US, the band has yet to secure a US label deal. This is a shame because the Beangrowers skilled and unique take on indie-rock will certainly have a place in many people's record collections as soon as someone in a position of label power realizes it. - Andy Smith - Pop Culture Press

If you have to compile a list of questions that include the words “why” and “Malta” , it would be endless, with queries of the likes of “Why is Malta lagging behind some ex-Eastern Bloc countries when it comes to standards of living?”, “Why is Maltese football so abysmal?”, and “Why does Malta and its electorate keep on choosing clowns instead of decent politicians?” featuring high on the list. I’ll obviously be putting my own question - “Why does Malta constantly refuse to concur that Beangrowers are the best Maltese band since The Rifffs, if not the best ever?” I suppose that the reasons behind this fact are twofold. Firstly, we Maltese worry more over (kitsch) style over substance – take the Eurovision Song Contest for instance. Secondly, they haven’t heard Beangrowers’ third, and best album yet, “Dance Dance Baby” - oops, gave the game away!

Just when we thought they couldn’t get any better with previous releases “48K” and “Beangrowers”, they have. And what a whirlwind of emotions this release possesses – the emotive choruses of “The Farewell Party” and especially “Waiting” reduced me to tears. Single “You Are You Are”, “I Like You” and the title track are both Poppy yet slamming, boasting driving basslines, Sex Noir vocals, and thrashy drums reminiscent of the early 80s post-Punk explosion a la Siouxsie & The Banshees, whilst the rest of the twelve tracks on offer are varied enough to keep you glued to your stereo, like the Old-School Goth overtones of “Waltz”, the paranoiac and claustrophobic rush of “Russian Boulevard” and the marriage of Sergio Leone to The Cocteau Twins that defines the quasi-instrumental “Lucky Luca”. Even the album closer “16, 18” is a sweet, tongue-in-cheek paean to elevator Muzak that sees drummer Ian taking over the mic, musing over sleeping with his partner’s mother to a background of tinny drum machines and Buontempi organs whilst taking this album to a cheery end.

As I end this review, our editor Woody has just told me to state that “Dance Dance Baby” deserves the same plaudits given to Hunter’s Palace last month, namely that both releases are the best Maltese releases he’s ever had the pleasure to be seduced by in the 28 issues of Dansezee’s existence. Everybody in this office agrees unanimously with his statement, as well as my decision to give this release the “Album Of The Month” title. Say, here’s another question for that list – “Why are Beangrowers the best band in Malta?”, to which the answer might lie in the chorus of one of their songs… “We never listen to the radio!”. That line alone speaks volumes about the genius of Beangrowers.
- Woody Aki -


48k (Rough Trade, 1999)
Beangrowers (Rough Trade 2001)
Dance Dance Baby (Global Warming 2005)

The Farewell Party (Astrobean, 2003)

Teen Titans
This Year's Love
You Are You Are
Dance Dance Baby


Feeling a bit camera shy


(album #3) will release schedule as follows:

August 2005: GAS (Strangeways)
October 2005: Australia + New Zealand (Karmic Hit)
UK & Eire (Global Warming)
single - February 2006
album - TBA

The band has to date released 2 albums on Rough Trade Germany. They have been on tour or shared the stage with Stereophonics, Tindersticks, Elbow, dEUS, Trashcan Sinatras, Burning Airlines, Magnapop, Love Tractor, Phillip Boa and the Voodooclub and Slut. Their videos have been on MTV and VIVA. Invited to play SXSW 2004 + 2005.

Latest news is that new track "The Priest" is on the latest Wim Wenders movie/soundtrack "Land of Plenty".


Behind the broadening horizons of the European music scene you can find the Beangrowers. Hailing from the Mediterranean island of Malta, this three-piece has become known for their off-the-wall tunes, an infectious mixture of guitar-based pop and melodious keyboard sounds.

All three Beangrowers were born in 1977 and come from the same town of St Julians (pop. 15,000) in Malta. Alison Galea (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Mark Sansone (bass/synths) and Ian Schranz (drums/synths) have been playing together since 1995. At age 15 Ian and Mark formed the band. Soon after Alison (a long running acquaintance) was recruited as a keyboardist, but when they found out that she could sing too, the guys figured that perhaps it was a good idea to have a singer in the band.

The name Beangrowers was actually given to the band by a fan. It happened when the band (at the time still without a name) had to play a big festival and the organizer demanded a band name for the posters. The band totally forgot to give the organizer one, and at the eleventh hour they delegated a friend to go and give in any name she could think of.

The ’beanies’ then started writing their own material and began to play gigs. Often these would be with punk and metal bands, however the band couldn't care less who the audience was. “Venues in Malta are limited,“ Alison said. “We have played literally everywhere.“

At the age of 18 (in 1996) the band began recording demos, experimenting mainly with sounds deriving from early 50's sci-fi movies and early 80's computer game sounds. It didn‘t take long before somebody took notice. “We recorded some demos and at that time there was a German producer who liked our music and recommended us to a booking agency.“

This resulted in a small club tour in Germany in 1997. “We played a 14-date club tour in Germany“, says Alison. “They played up the fact that we were an unknown band coming from Malta and people really seemed to be fascinated by us. Our nationality was always promoted on signs outside of these clubs - Aus Malta!“ The band got great reactions from their audiences. At this point people were looking for the band's album in stores. “In the audience at one gig there was a guy from Rough Trade who was really into our music and asked us to do another demo. Soon after we signed a deal.“

In 1998, Rough Trade Germany signed the band, and Beangrowers became the first Maltese band to ink an international record deal. “Our signing took a lot of people in Malta by surprise“, says Alison. About two years before that, we recorded our first demo at 17, and we didn't think a lot about it, we were just having a good time“ says Ian.

Back then, Ian described the music as their attempt “to cross Sonic Youth with the Carpenters“. In June 1999 they released the 14-track debut ‘48k‘, whose title was inspired by the late lamented 1980s Spectrum computer. “48k is like a ‘Best of’ of our old songs and demoes prior to recording the album in 1998“, describes Alison. The album was recorded at Temple Studios and was produced by David Vella and Thomas Hanreich (former singer of Vivid). The final mix was done by Gareth Jones, who has worked with Interpol, Depeche Mode, Clinic, Madness and Nick Cave.

Following the release of their debut they toured extensively across central Europe, and even relocated to Germany for a two-year stint. “At that time we weren‘t too interested in recording“, says Ian. “We were more than anything excited to get the album out and play gigs.“ The highlight was a spot on the lineup at the opening night of the Popkomm alongside The Tindersticks, Stereophonics and dEUS.

Despite constant touring the Beangrowers found enough time to write their second album. In August 2000 they returned to the studio recording the self-titled „Beangrowers“. It was co-produced by David Vella & the band.
The mixing was done by Teo Miller who had previously collaborated with Blur, Placebo, James and Black Box Recorder. On this opus they showed their full range of their musical ability. Whereas the first long-player had a straighter, rockier direction, this one took some twists and turns along the way. “This was us having loads of fun in the studio and getting totally sucked in“, says Ian. “These were songs written by 23-year-olds. You heard the differen