Played Wits [The Ryersonian, February 28, 2001]
Laura Pearce [Ryerson University, Toronto, ON]

In an industry overun by cookie-cutter pop-rock and one-hit wonders, Played Wits has Zwerg's Jason Betts in the catbird seat with a collection of eclectic stylings anything but mainstream. The signature piano arrangements and smooth vocals of the Moncton, New Brunswick native's first two releases are back on Played Wits, but this time accompanied by percussion and computer sequences blipping and whirring or zipping like shooting stars in and out of songs.

The synth on Played Wits is sometimes heavy, but broken up enough between songs so as not to overwhelm the listener who vowed never to experience 80s-style synth at an intoxicating level again.

Betts' lyrics, with mythological ("The Lamia") and fantasy ("Rooty Toot-Shoot") references interspersed, are curiously abstract, making one wonder, "Just what was he whinking about when he put that down?". Then again, part of the intrigue of Played Wits is deciding what the lyrics mean. Ah well, it's all relative, anyway. A standout track is "Just as I am", a traditional 19th centruy piece on which Betts' vocals and piano show up clear and pronounced. Played Wits is that hard-to-come-by kind of music that just may give you what you've been missing.
-- Laura Pearce, Ryersonian, February 28, 2001