Review of Four Corners Of A Tiny Planet Album by The Beautiful Losers

Hyped on their MySpace as 'Indian-influenced electro-acoustic alternative rock', from The Beautiful Losers one anticipates a kind of exciting fusion of folk and world music meeting alternative rock; despite starting with a strong cohort of diverse tracks, however, Four Corners Of A Tiny Planet soon blurs into a rather disappointing and samey effort.

Immediately unveiling The Beautiful Losers' world fusion intentions, Four Corners Of A Tiny Planet opens with a rhythmic Indian percussion introduction provided by the All India Radio Ensemble, punctuated by the low boom of the ghutam. Except for its' interlocking guitar parts and occasional vocal outbursts, 'Peaceful Buddhist Warrior' is a predominantly percussion-led track that serves almost as a tribal opening to the album, later fading out to a solo Indian stringed instrument. In the following track, The Beautiful Losers evidence their contrasting, typically western alternative rock blend and Goo Goo Dolls type feel blending strummed acoustic with picked electric guitars and the usual drums, bass and synth suspects. It's a simple song with four chord progression throughout, but demonstrates the influence of iconic rock bands such as U2, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

The Beautiful Losers Four Corners Of A Tiny Planet Album

'Romantic Hippy Gunfighter' offers further variation and the feel of The Beautiful Losers encompassing the musical culture of another country, this time with a Spanish/Latin kind of style complete with Rodriguez-like trumpet flourishes and castanets throughout, and later a dialogue between electric guitar and trumpet during the instrumental. The tonality of the flute melody of 'Young Peruvians' suggests further influence of eastern musical culture, whilst it's the variax sitar that evidences similar influence in 'A Little Bits Better Than Nothing'.

From then on in, however, interesting cross-culture instrumental variation is lost in a wash of samey, bland alternative rock songwriting proving Four Corners Of A Tiny Planet as something of a front loaded release who's potential to fuse together musical cultures in an exciting blend rapidly fades throughout. Ripples of Indian influence are indeed glimpsed throughout the latter half of the album, for example in the language of 'Yeh Dosti' and the sitar and tambura that flourish throughout The Beautiful Losers' cover of The Beatles' 'Across The Universe', just these glimpses are let down by the likes of 'Ted The Handsome Cat', which opens with the kick of The Who's 'My Generation' but rapidly loses its' bite, and later the sluggish and bland alternative rock ballad 'Way Down'.

The Beautiful Losers, a project formed by Indo-Canadian Raj Ramayya and San Fransisco-born Brett Boyd, had an exciting concept and a multitude of musicians clearly at their disposal, yet Four Corners Of A Tiny Planet unfortunately only scratches the surface of their exciting world-fusion potential.

Hannah Spencer

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