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Farm Photo

Farm Photos

by Erin Clark / 26.01.2010

What are the most important elements of a song? Harmony, rhythm & timing and it also helps if said band are talking some kind of sense. On Beatenberg’s Farm Photos there is a gentle balance between older tunes and the introduction of newer ones. Six out of the ten tracks are fresh, yet they all fit seamlessly on one record. The much loved “Sultan of the Economic Café”, “Die for you” and “In B flat” stand brightly next to the well knitted “Beaufort Scale”, which is personally my new favourite. Other numbers like “Old Woollen Jersey” and “Primary School” are similarly well constructed with lyrics that would make even my pops nostalgic.

They classify their sound as pop, but comparing them to acts that immediately come to mind would put you way off the mark. In this instance pop means that their music is very accessible. Beatenberg are like a breath of fresh air of acoustic pop. The influence of folk and jazz are also prominent in the music.

Matthew (guitarist/song writer) is shy but deliciously intriguing. He shouldn’t be so surprised that it’s not only his friends and neighbours that make up their audience; Ross (bass man) is utterly complimentary and supportive and Rob (rhythmist/ drummer) keeps everyone in time, even when he’s playing those rolling threes that even the most avid fan struggles to keep up with.

I already know almost all the words to Farm Photos. But, even though I’d tattoo Beatenburg above my right breast in a heartbeat I do wish that they sounded more in performance like they do on their CD; But they’re young – younger than you – and now that Matthew is off to Berklee College of Music you might have to borrow money to see their next show.

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  1. back at ya says:

    “I do wish that they sounded more in performance like they do on their CD”
    “thing is anyone can sound good on cd”

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  2. erin says:


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  3. back at ya says:

    More of this girl!

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  4. wut? says:

    A positive review of something not by Francois?

    I think snow crystals are forming in hell.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE this album and am pleased to read a decent review on Mahala (not just cause it confirms my good taste, but because reviews here often seem to do little more than serve the egos of reviewers). Nice one, Erin.

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  6. Simon van Gend says:

    “What are the most important elements of a song? Harmony, rhythm & timing and it also helps if said band are talking some kind of sense.”

    Just a technical point. I suspect you’re confusing harmony with melody – melody is the tune, harmony is the way musical notes of different pitches sound together to make chords. Harmony adds emotional value to the melody. So, the same melody played over a major chord will have a very different feel when played over a minor chord in the same key. Harmony is very important, but i think melody might trump it.

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  7. easy cowboy says:

    “Harmony is very important, but i think melody might trump it.”

    Heaven forbid someone should suggest we find other elements to music that bypass this Eurocentric fixation on melody. It’s not a technical point, Simon, it’s a matter of personal opinion. Just because someone has a different view to yours doesn’t mean you get to “correct” them. Hey, maybe you should take their view to heart and consider that your songs may have stronger appeal if you found more interesting chords for them? You know, like writing something in more than one key for a change?

    On a separate note, does anyone know where we can find a copy of this Beatenberg album? Is it available for download anywhere?

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  8. Beatenberg says:

    It will be soon. We’re just sorting out distribution. It will be available in stores and online. Until then get hold of us on email or facebook and we can try make a plan. Beatenberg.

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  9. JKG says:

    What the fuck is up with the personal attack on Simon “Easy Cowboy”? Maybe you should use your own name as a suggestion for how you speak against an acclaimed artist like Simon!

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  10. erin says:

    direct enquiries about BEATNEBERG’S FARM PHOTO’S


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  11. Robbie says:

    I absolutely love their stuff – I agree that they sound better on CD than live and I whole heartedly attribute that to the sensitivity of the lyric delivery and the need for who ever handles the live sound for them to compensate for the unforced vocals – they are not a shrieking rock outfit after all. As for the compensition and the freshness – watch this space – you are not going to easily encounter something quiet as unique with such huge potential in a hurry – well done guys – you are all fantastic!

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  12. jezebel says:

    semantics? sigh.

    It’s worth considering that perhaps Erin meant ‘harmony’ in the greater sense of the word – the abstract sense – especially as it’s used in the opening line after which the basic musical elements are listed. I’m sure s/he knows the difference between lay terms like melody and harmony, or are Mahala readers perfecting the art of skim reading simply to point out how clever they are? To me, that’s not clever, it’s crass.

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  13. jezebel says:

    One thing I am surprised there is no mention of, considering the initial reference to lyrical content, is Beatenberg’s masterfully refreshing lyrical irony. They pull is off so subtley, giving each song’s message a bit more bite than other, more overt artists of the ilk manage in a mouthful, (i’m thinking of the likes of lyrical wonders, The Deisel Whores and Jack Parow, especially). When it comes to slow-surfacing lyrical bruising points (you choose the connotation), Beatenberg is up there with Martin Rocka And The Sick Shop and Mr. Cat & The Jackal.

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  14. janet jan 26 2010 says:

    JUst LOVE them. ENCORE …… please! Have followed these guys from their early days – when they were still “NICE”. They just get better ….

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  15. jim lefevre says:

    I’ve just been listening to them on Myspace and they are wonderful! I’m now trying to find out where to buy the CD. Any leads?

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  16. Robin Brink says:


    We’re busy dealing with our options regarding distribution and stockists.

    We’ve been very delayed, but it’ll be available soon.

    Thanks for the support.


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  17. Albert du Plessis says:

    You guys are a shining light. I Lurrrve your music. Please keep confusing harmony and melody as you do ;-D Simon V gend probably hates Paul Simon for it !

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  18. Simon van Gend says:

    it’s not beatenberg thats confusing harmony and melody, it’s the reviewer – and i love Paul Simon, and i love Beatenberg

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  19. Anonymous says:

    hi. are there any CDs available in Durbs? I would love to have one, your music is totaly groovy! sadly i havent actually been to any of your concerts… but when matt comes back, i am gonna give my mom the ” puppy-dog” face and hope for the best… yes, i am just a kid , well 15 anyway… so my opinion on this fab music propbably doesn’t count… oh, robin, its me rebecca, your cousin from durbs ( just in case you had a brain mulfunction and forgot who i am… which better not be the case!)
    one last thing, if ever you have a gig in durban, please let me know! i would turn into a pumpkin if i miss it!
    its seems beatenberg has a few fans here too!

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