Beak - Beak - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Beak - Beak

by Miz DeShannon Rating:9 Release Date:2012-06-29

Here's an comparison for newcomers to Beak, as they're quite reclusive on the touring scene (it spoils their creativity): they're a little like Wooden Shjips but less crazy, with Silver Apples minimalism, driving electro-rock and ethereal psych-folk. Lots of descriptive words there.

Their self-titled second album moves seamlessley from one style to another, from 'The Gaol' with strange and haunting electro noises you'd usually find in a 60s murder-horror, very Zombie-Zombie-do-John-Carpenter, to 'Kidney', which finds the three-piece playing as a traditional band, low on electronics, deploying slower deeper sounds and a heavy reverb ending. While there are essentially a lot of different genres in Beak>>, there is an over-riding trend - a surfeit of whizzing and whirring organs, typified in 'Elevator', and knitted through each track from the folky and ethereal 'Eggdog' with it's fantastic rolling drums, to 'Ladies' Mile' with it's whale-noises, heartbeat rhythm and a haunting electro sound.

When they get clever with the pitch-shift in 'Yatton' or the rolling drums of 'Spinning Top' there's more of that pacy Krautrock repetition, analogue synths and murmured vocals, like Moon Duo but less tinny and with warm fuzz and some experimentation creeping in. 'Liar' and its very intense wailing guitar leads into 'Wulfstan II'. Echoing bands like Om and My Bloody Valentine, the track has utterly engaging, low chant-like vocals and a heavier doom-vibe with guitar riffs, along with what you'd be tempted to call a meaty bassline. There, I called it a meaty bassline. In contrast to this manly foray, floaty sounds in 'Deserters' include some beautiful vocal harmonies, dreamy bass and soft rolling drums juxtaposed with a fuzz guitar ending. This really is a very eclectic yet very logical album, with the thrown-in vocals only ever intended as an extra layer to their sandwich of sound, not as any profound lyrical statement.

Bristol-based Geoff Barrow (of Portishead), Billy Fuller, Matt Williams are unrelentless in their analogue ways. Beak>> was recorded in one room with no overdubs and only using tape. The Krautrock-inspired result makes it sound as though they hold acts like Acid Mother's Temple, Can and Neu! in high regard. However, full of substantial basslines, monotonous sounds and haunting organs, each song is the band's own blend of psych and doom and folk. That's covered just about every musical possibility, I think: heavy, light, fuzzy, intense, electro, anything else...? It's just lovely, crisp, intelligent, and essentially a live album. An almost unheard of mix these days.

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