ZWERG Played Wits [EXCLAIM Magazine, December, 2000]
Rob Bolton [National]

While I'm sure many people assume everyone in Moncton must listen to Sonic Youth and play distorted indie-rock, Zwerg proves that there is a lot more going on. Zwerg is the project of a certain Eldon Thiele, aka Jason Betts. On his first full-length album, 'To Myopic Mutts', he enlisted the help of fellow citizen Rick White, of the Eric's Trip/Elevator lineage. Instead of rocking out, this album honed in on his skills as a singer and songwriter, with most of the sound attributed to Betts and his piano. Things take a sharp right turn with 'Played Wits', which features a heavy presence from synthesisers, effects and electronics. If that weren't enough, his smooth voice reminds me of 80's pop star Nick Kershaw. The album's ten tracks are all solid efforts and clock in at longer than average times, which allows Betts the room to explore all the sounds he has in his head. While the goofy programmed nature of this record will be hard for many to swallow, at least it's not predictable. (Waspy Mic Mac, 64 Oakmoor Terrace, Moncton, NB E1G 1T5)
--Rob Bolton