Beaches are a kind of super-group formed from other well known Australian bands. Made up of five women – three of which are guitarists – it’s no surprise they form a huge wall of sound here. In the press release they make reference to their name stemming from an admiration for the well known female-bonding film of the same name and a nod to a friend who asked if the group was going to be called “bitches”. Having not heard anything by Beaches previously their new double album Second of Spring is certainly a hell of a way to be introduced to them.
It’s always fun to read other reviews of these bands like this as entirely phantom genres are created to try and define them: Noise-pop, psych-out, etc, so I’ll keep things simple and just say they are a rock band that deliver a hypnotic sound that’s really quite alluring. A lot of the tracks are instrumentals but bathed in a sort of psychedelic grunge rock with a delicate scrubbing of shoegaze. Some have vocals but may as well be instrumentals. Every now and then there’s bits that remind me of Pixies or Kasabian but the range of influences is so wide it’s not really fair to pluck them all out – Beaches are really operating in their own space here.
Second of Spring is the perfect album to put on at party and folk would think it was a playlist of different songs such is the variety of tracks here. In that way it reminds me of another lesser well known band called Working For A Nuclear Free City who released an astonishing double album (Businessmen & Ghosts) back in the late noughties that experimented with a broad amount of genres in a similar way.
The bass lead Contact swirls around you as a lead guitar melody blends with a vocal while Divers drifts into early Monster Magnet space rock. Frequently my mind was transported to a sticky and crammed venue as I imagining hearing them perform songs these live. Crashing thick guitars over rumbling bass and slowly sung words combine to make a wonderful bond here.
The single When You’re Gone sums up their sound perfectly. Featuring dreamy indie, almost ethereal, vocals that drift over the driving riff. On an album like this it jumps out as a perfect single, managing the difficulties of capturing everything that makes up Beaches’ sound and stuffing it into one song.
September is just the kind of rock music that I feel has been missing since the nineties. It has a hint of a vocal spoken in the background but is mostly just a riff for four perfect minutes. It’s just a great jam that you can imagine tearing down a highway at a hundred miles per hour with it blaring out of the speakers. (Ahem, I mean, please obey the speed limit laws in your country.)
Every now and again there is a bit of overindulgence: Mothers & Daughters for example starts with a minute long intro that’s been reversed and the last track Mutual Decision is a simple riff looped over and over while stereo shrill guitars wail in and out of focus for nine minutes. Mind you, how else do you end a double album? In fairness that seemed as good a way as any.
Photo by Darren Sylvester.
Beaches’ Second of Spring is out on 8th September via Chapter Music.