It’s time to talk about Beth Arzy. Because yes, what this post is about is yet another bloody Beth Arzy band! The 800th, I think. Seriously, from her time in the late Sarah Records era Aberdeen up until her present presence in Jetstream Pony, Beth’s been in so many bands and sung on even a lot more records and songs (from high profile indie acts like The Luxembourg Signal or Lightning In A Twilight Hour to lesser known bands like Charlie Big Time) that we doubt even she herself can keep track of her vocal endeavours. In her defence, it has to be said that she’s never been smug about it or prided herself of her singing. Quite the contrary, whenever Beth talks about it, it’s always in the most self-deprecating way, like in her announcement of her next vocal involvement (band no. 801) with the Dentists-related Treasures Of Mexico:
I highly urge all fans of The Dentists and all other Dentisty side projects to go back and download the first Treasures LP on @shelflife because there may be some unbearable female backing vox on a few of the new ones… Just sayin. #treasuresofmexico #thedentists https://t.co/YwY09gqxjL
— Beth Arzy (@BethArzy) 22. August 2018
So when her voice can be heard on roughly one in four indiepop songs, it’s definitely not because of her parading around telling everyone what a great singer she is. A more convincing case can be made for the reason being that her singing lends a sparkling, ethereal warmth to any song she adds it to (yes we KNOW the ether is cold; just listen to her sing, you’ll get it). In addition to that, it has to be suspected it’s because she is the most effortlessly cool and at the same time the most lovely person you’ll ever encounter. And you know how often these two go together? Yeah, right …
When Jetstream Pony appeared on the scene in 2017 with their first 7“ single, our impression was that Beth had sort of crafted herself her own version of her beloved Mary Chain to be in (together with Shaun Charman, Kerry Boettcher and Sarah Boyle). Great Schrammelpop with lots of reverb and her voice. Almost a year has passed since then, however, and what has emerged on the new 5-track EP Self-Destruct Reality, released by the much recommended label Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten from Augsburg (Germany), is a band that promises to be so much more than that. The songs are much more mature, substantial, and multifaceted than on that first single; also, the production is much more varied and accomplished. Especially the title song with its polished, slow guitar intro that’s crying out for a big, explosive bang to come in and rescue it and its defiant chorus is a real gem of an indiepop hymn that warrants mentioning a band like McCarthy as a point of reference.
With the path they’re on with this record, let’s hope Jetstream Pony will stay with us for many more releases. And let’s also hope for many more songs with Beth Arzy on!
Self-Destruct Reality was released in July 2018 on Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten. The vinyl edition is sold out but the digital version is available here: