The music of Melbourne, Australia’s Beaches is a collection of hazy, psych-heavy guitar pop. They build walls of noise for us to work our way through. What we hear when we find ourselves in the midst of their noisy, gauzy, guitar sonics is a catchy rock and roll hook. This five piece rock and roll girls club is a force to be reckoned with. Their last album, 2013s She Beats, was a shot of psychedelic rock with some Krautrock tendencies(courtesy of the ladies and special guest Michael Rother.) There’s a lot of instrumental interludes between the vocals, and that’s a great thing. When you can create fuzzy, atmospheric grooves as well as Beaches does then you let the music do the talking.
Beaches have returned with their newest LP, the epic double album Second of Spring. It’s a mammoth 75 minute slab of double vinyl filled with all the dreamy fuzz we’ve come to love about Beaches, with a little more emphasis on the epic guitar noise and early 90s college rock vibe.
There seems to be two sides to Beaches. There’s the monster guitar bashers these ladies are so good at churning out. Then there’s the pop elements of Beaches that they slather in a healthy dose of fuzz. “Be” is a good example of the latter. Imagine the Go-Gos engaging a Big Muff on a track like “Our Lips Our Sealed” or “Vacation” and you might have an idea of how this track plays out. The reverbed vocals feel like 80s girl band, but the guitars sound like Dino Jr circa 1988. “Void” is another song where Beaches apply some serious hooky magic and add a heavy dose of grungy guitar heft. “Bronze Age Babies” is led with a flute-sounding instrument and some heavy bass. It’s a fun and wonky track. The production isn’t pristine, and if it was this wouldn’t have the same kind of magic. Beaches does a lo fi vibe without being lo fi. If you want something that sounds like five producers cut and chopped and ran it through the “hit maker” machine, go listen to Warpaint.
As I said, there’s 75 minutes of music to work through here, so I’ll highlight a few. “September” is atmospheric guitar goodness. Steady beat, killer groove, and the girls just plain kill it here. “Natural Tradition” is a more laid back track, but not mellow by any means. It builds up steam slowly like some psychedelic steam engine. “Wine” almost sounds like some lost Disintegration track with it’s echoed guitar and feedback. Or maybe Lush sitting in on a Disintegration recording session. “When You’re Gone” has some of that 80s alternative magic. It’s part You’re Living All Over Me and part House Tornado. “Mothers and Daughters” is quite a lovely track. More melancholy and longing than what we’ve heard before. There’s something quite epic and sweeping about this tune. “Mutual Delusion” ends the album on an epic note as well, sprawling nearly 9 minutes.
I was starting to wonder if we’d ever get a follow up to the excellent She Beats. Fortunately the ladies were just taking their time building the grand and rocking Second of Spring. It’s well worth the wait, and well worth you time.