BEEFEATER may have its roots sunk in D.C.'s hardcore punk scene, but the group's debut album, "Plays for Lovers," is ambitious enough to entertain alternative styles of confrontational noisemaking.
In fact, the band's abrasive jumble of punk, funk and jazz and lead singer Tomas Squip's contemptuous vocals recall the musical nastiness of New York no wave artists like James Chance and the Contortions.
At times, Beefeater's attempts to give musical expression to Squip's fast-spoken raps result in nothing more interesting than a chaotic tangle of percussion, jerky rhythms and raw, squalling guitar work. However, on "Satyagraha," Dug Birdzell's loping reggae baseline gives the whole band the groove needed to focus its energies.
"Plays for Lovers" is a difficult album and not wholly successfully in its experimentalism. Nonetheless, Beefeater displays some exciting instrumental ideas, and guitarist Fred Smith's mastery of fuzz, feedback and frenzy is well demonstrated on a cover of Jimi Hendrix' "Manic Depression." What Beefeater needs to do is to give its musical attack the same disciplined yet ferocious edge as its socially acute lyrics.
BEEFEATER -- "Plays for Lovers" (Dischord 17); appearing Friday night with Dag Nasty and In Pieces at Georgetown University's Hall of Nations.