Three years on, hip-pop pranksters the Beta Band are still operating in the shadow of their revelatory 3 EPs set. Nothing they do is likely to eclipse the casual, genre-crossing throwdowns of the three mini-albums, so why even try? On first listen, Hot Shots II sounds like the group didn't, strumming out a handful of underwhelming folk pop songs and grabbing the most obvious samples they could find. Eventually, the record begins to define itself, with the Beta Band relaxing a bit and laying off the need to ram every possible idea into each song. It's a more mature approach, but beyond a few steamroller grooves and the straight-up, Nilsson-sampling hiphop burner at the end of the record, Hot Shots II is a fairly boring listen. There's clearly a great album in them, but this isn't it. Beta band open for Radiohead at Molson Park August 3.