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BETHNAL (Buy CDs by this artist)
Crash Landing (UK Vertigo) 1978
Dangerous Times (UK Vertigo) 1978

On the strength of live performances during 1976, this multi-ethnic London band was considered one of the most promising new groups in Britain. Admittedly different from the pack, lead singer George Csapo played keyboards and violin — instruments not then in vogue among new wavers. Unfortunately, Bethnal was never able to properly translate its hard-driving mid-period-Who-influenced sound to vinyl. They came closest on Dangerous Times, but were thwarted by Kenny Laguna's thin, pop-oriented production which highlights the band's material and vocals (both spotty) over its superior musicianship and energy; covers of "Baba O'Reilly" [sic] and "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place," while interesting choices, add nothing to the originals.

Crash Landing, produced by Phil Chapman and Pete Townshend's brother-in-law, Jon Astley, moves Bethnal into glossy, emptyheaded arena-style terrain that effectively alienated the band's supporters and failed to interest a new audience.

[Dave Schulps]