Beaten by Them

Beaten by Them


BBT combines cello and samples with conventional rock instrumentation that has been critically acclaimed to "twist genres and make them irrelevant". Drawing from members' various jazz, rock, hip-hop and electronic music backgrounds, BBT's music is subtle, powerful, intense and timeless.


When Andrew Harris and Max McCormick decided to move from San Francisco back to their home country Australia at the end of 2006, it seemed they were sounding the death knell for Beaten by Them, the fledgling band they had spawned just a year earlier. But before long the two guitarists were hatching plans to perform with their old band mates: cellist Boima Tucker, drummer Ulf Bjorkbom and bassist Lee Matheson. By mid-2007 Beaten by Them were on the road, making their first tour of the US West Coast. At the end of the tour the band entered John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone to capture some of their musical energies on tape.

Recording in analog seemed a natural choice for a band whose music is so reliant on tones and textures. Engineered by Aaron Prellwitz and mixed by Max McCormick and Andrew Harris at their Logicpole studio in Melbourne, the result is a classic sound of timeless musical quality. In this era of hooks and short attention spans, this is an album, writ large, that works as a complete whole rather than a set of unrelated tracks. From the cinematic opening of “Town too Small” to the space-jam outro of “Pioneer 10”, Signs of Life moves at a stately pace, but with a clear destination always ahead.

Though fundamentally a rock band, Beaten by Them do not seem particularly attached to that genre. All of the music originates in the gritty tones of Andrew Harris’s guitar and is filtered through the sensibilities of Max McCormick, whose arrangements owe more to beats-based electronic and world music than rock. Beyond a few hard-and-fast rules the band are free to improvise at will, an approach which allows the music to breathe and sparks real magic. Cellist Boima Tucker is a key ingredient in Beaten by Them: his performances, which are lyrical and fiery, truly define the band’s sound. The spaciousness and power of Beaten by Them’s music owe much to the spontaneity of drummer Ulf Bjorkbom, a regular player in San Francisco’s jazz scene.

With the release of “Signs of Life” at the end of 2007, Beaten by Them have made good on their musical promise. At a time when seemingly little contemporary music piques the imagination, Beaten by Them have created a surprising fusion of classical-meets-rock music that takes you places you want to be.


Signs of Life, 2008 (Logicpole / Thrill Jockey): US college radio peak chart position #6
Steam, 2006 (Logicpole)