The Beta Band, of course, are no more. The various members have been putting finishing touches to their new projects. Sadly for Steve Mason, King Biscuit Time called time on the feast before anyone had ordered starters.
For his erstwhile Beta Band mates John Maclean, Robin Jones and Gordon Anderson, Fife still has a place on the map not entirely occupied by King Creosote and his accordion. Alienoid Starmonica is their first release as The Aliens. Both band and EP are well named.
It all starts inauspiciously with a series of inconsequential noises leading to Hey Leanne (A-lien - geddit?), the first of four tracks that make up this psychedelic homespun offering. Not much happens for the first two minutes, but then suddenly an off-kilter country-western effort, part bar knees up and part melancholic homage, kicks in with piano, guitar, slide and vocals. It'd be a pretty standard old American record in any other setting.
Only Waiting adds rhythm to the mix and comes across like a jam session recorded in public on a worn-out tape. The Ionas (Look For Space) is a pure Pink Floyd pastiche right down to the vocals, while Robot Man is Daft Punk around a camp fire. If that sounds fun, that'll be because it is.
So is it any good? Aye, 'tis. These extra-terrestrial invaders are most welcome to set up shop.