by Derric Miller
– Managing Editor —
Just the band name, Go Betty Go, sounds like this is going to be a fun trip, right? Once the music starts, and you hear this all-female band pour out a joyous, polished brand of commercial Punk, and the smooth, effortless vocals of Nicolette Vilar almost croons at you … it all sounds like a happy, swell time.
Until you read the lyrics on Reboot. This is some introspectively grim stuff, kids …
“By Your Side” is the opener, and by the title, maybe it’s a love song? Wrong again. Try on these lyrics: “I won’t be trapped in your noose. Your death sentence, not mine. I’m breaking free; you’re out of time.” This upbeat ditty is about breaking up with your significant other, packing your bags and leaving without even saying goodbye. It’s a bouncy composition, then crescendos at the end with Nicolette starting to rage, a counter to her earlier silky vocals.
But wait, there’s more!
“Drown” is up next, and the bass is a punchy, pummeling thrum-fest. This song has an almost vintage appeal to it, like ‘70s Hard Rock, except the leads are too happy and don’t remind you of being a wasted hippy. Again, it’s about a godawful relationship. “I dress in color, you’re in tasty grays in summer like a statue looking over a dirty pond.” OK, someone has been in a series of smothering and destructive relationships.
The no nonsense approach continues on “It Haunts You Now.” The dichotomy between the sonic portrait and the lyrics continues on this slower (for them) composition. Hearing this live must be a thrill because the music just makes you want to bounce around like you have no cares in the world. Lyrically, though, the song paints a picture of a soulless, vapid caricature who fakes their entire walk through life.
There is a Spanish track, “Tartamundo” which means “Stutter” in English. It’s got a lot of sing-a-longable “whoa ohs!” in it so even if you don’t know Spanish, it’s catchy as hell.
“Cemetery Stone” is a horror movie in song format. “They won’t miss those girls from Mexico,” is all you need to know about the context, unless you want to throw in “Her final moments there recorded in a loop making sure we remember what had taken her too soon.” Just look at the back cover of the EP—you see four smiling, makeup wearing women grinning at you with their arms around each other. They don’t look like they can write with the darkness of a Metal Church anthem, but they surely can.
“Where I Sleep” is the final song on the six-song EP. Thematically, it all starts making sense, since this song is about “rebooting” your life, starting over, getting rid of your past mistakes even though it’s likely marriage when you hear “A choice made very young buried me to a heavy sum.” The pacing of the vocals during the verses is somewhat gracefully frantic; someone is in a hurry to get the hell outta Dodge.
Go Betty Go may look like a good time band, who sing syrupy Pop Punk, but you have to dig a little deeper to get the entire story. And that story is they are storytellers of some fairly dark real-life nightmares. Isolation, loss, depression, death, soul-sapping relationships … it’s all in there. At the end, maybe there is a Phoenix rising from the ashes moment, though. Overall, you don’t have to overthink to like the band, but it’ll help you understand the music to a far greater level if you do.
Genre: Punk, Hard Rock
Nicolette Vilar—lead vocals
1. By Your Side
3. It Haunts You Now
5. Cemetery Stone
6. Where I Sleep
Hardrock Haven rating: 7.5/10