Beaches – Beaches Album Review

Beaches

Beaches

8/10

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It has always been a strange footnote at the bottom of music history, the subtle fact that too many New Zealand bands disappear over to the Great Oz, end up staying and they never return, coupled with the horrible knowledge that tragically few Australian bands come to play shows in New Zealand. That doesn’t stop great music from entering the country in disc form, though. Hailing from Victoria (that’s the Victoria over the ‘”ducchh”, not to be confused with Pretoria, that’s in a different continent) and comprising of some rather sweet-looking ladies, Beaches have managed to squeeze out a fantastically rough debut mushed together out of a deliciously sweet pop ideology smothered in fuzz and a distinctively Australian style of riot-grrrl awesomeness (never sussed out how many r’s are meant to be in grrrl, my apologies), it verges oh-so-very-close on self-indulgence but steps on the right side of that line; a line too often crossed, in my opinion.

Their self-titled debut opens with the minuteandahalf fuzz-out ‘Two Days Passed By’, squeezing 60’s psychedelia with surf and shitgaze and it sets the standard for the rest of the record. Although largely instrumental, the euphoric moments come when a nameless set of voices lets loose their ghostly majesty swimming underneath tracks like ‘Sandy’ and ‘The Rip’. The guitars swoon and drone, screech and throttle, all backed by chaotically simple drum beats, thrown together in a veritable melting-pot of genres that are almost too many to list. It’s fair to say that Sonic Youth’s most blissed-out moments were key in inspiring this record but the sheer brutality and density of songs like ‘Vikings’ make the whole trip worthwhile. The sheer sonic infinity of the first half of the record is simply stunning to say the least, most songs turning in to sound collages by the 3rd minute.

Something struck me while writing this review: it’s awfully hard to write about a band whose songs predominantly sound the same, but are equally fantastic. They all bristle with menace and a late-80’s no-wave don’tgiveafuck sensibility; similarly impressive seeing as Beaches is entirely made up of females (yeah, see, the Sonic Youth reference isn’t wholly unjustified). Verging on lo-fi, questionably close to the post-punk revival happening at the moment, and treading the same footpath as many before them, Beaches ultimately deliver on what is essentially one song, broken in to twelve parts with different names. But seriously, who gives a fuck-andahalf about the politics of it when they make noise this utterly thrilling.

– James Donaldson

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