Juan Wauters: "Sanity"
By Maura McAndrew | 4 March 2013
It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to rave about Queens, NY trashcan pop band the Beets. After releasing two delightfully ramshackle, catchy records in 2011 (most notably the excellent Let the Poison Out), the Beets experienced a quiet 2012 playing sporadic local live shows—normal, perhaps, for other bands who don’t work at these guys’ typical breakneck pace. And though the lack of attention paid to this band by, well, anyone is vexing, I feel confident that someday the Beets will be appreciated. But right now they’re still a scrappy group of oddballs playing around in an un-hip borough, for which I salute them.
All this glorification is not in service of new Beets material per se, but close: frontman Juan Wauters, he of the Uruguayan accented voice that sounds like Jad Fair finally learned how to sing, has released a solo 7” entitled “Sanity.” Wauters’s fondness for simple early Beatles-style melodies is more apparent than ever here, from the strumming intro to the singalong chorus. Over three Beets records, Wauters has subtly strengthened his songwriting, reigning in a tendency to throw anything and everything at the wall, and that growth continues with “Sanity,” a short, concise burst of pop magic. The effortless feeling remains, but is accompanied by a sense of sharpness, from the traditional mid-song guitar solo to the perkily staccato chorus, “In my head / Don’t know whether there / Is sanity or not.”
Like Wauters’s work with the Beets, “Sanity” is not a song that begs for analysis. It’s rather the type of song with a knack for vanquishing motive or critical thought, and tricks one into simply listening, and pressing play again.