May 25, 2024

Beaches- ‘Second Of Spring’ –  lo-fi, fuzzy summer fun

CHAPTER MUSIC          8th September, 2017

This is a big collection, full of sound, ideas and fun. Lots of instrumentals, some where there are vocals but as colour or instrumentation via wordless chorus or echo effects. There are intense and purposeful driving riffs, there are circular patterns of crunching guitar. I catch a sense of surf-pop yet this isn’t the twangy pop of the sixties, it’s a later incarnation with more distortion and a maniac focus. Psych influences are big here and much blessed by the scarcity of vocals – where they are present, they appear in a middle distance, giving gravitas and removing meaning. It all feels loosely jammed, yet it lasers down on the big melodies.

There is also a big post-punk and beyond feeling, a nineties sense of stretching horizons. Three guitars give a huge canvas to play on but the bass is distinctively high in the mix, giving a clear counterpoint. Sometimes it goes: ”ooo, ooo” and the bass burbles poppily. At other times it rides deep into trippy grooves or buzzsaw guitars chop and push. Somehow it all hangs together.

An Australian band, Beaches have made their third album a double vinyl, CD or download and it runs to nearly eighty minutes without being too long. They make no fuss at all about being all female, except to note that Beaches is a homonym of Bitches. But really, it’s about the Beaches, about fun by the sea, chilling on a wild-camp or being super-BFFs like the eponymous movie that Bette Midler soundtracks. There is a deep chemistry here, a feeling that the band hit a common chord and the jams that result have a special purpose.  As the guitars noodle and weave, the bass keeps up a solid burble. Hooks are strong but a sunny haze leaves me blissed-out too. Hypnotism comes into the equation and swirly chord patterns topped with dreamy vocal shadows leave me slightly dazed like when a particularly good piece of Krautrock has dragged me in and drugged me up.

Full of dazed sun, psychedelia, jamming fun and occasional lost sixties pop-gems that never happened.


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