WE LOVE BEACHES

Australia. More stunning coastline than any country in the world, most of it uninhabited.

Two thirds of the population live within striking distance of an ocean or bay.

The result? Most people can swim, a summer holiday simply must involve sun, sand, and fish and chips, plus we have the highest rate of skin cancer in the known universe. But this isn’t a travel blog. We’re not here for the beer and melanomas, we’re here for the beaches.

 

Stephanie Gilmore at Bells Beach, VIC. Photo: Aaron Francis / The Australian [14/04/2017]

How much do I love Beaches? Let me count the ways.

I love the clean, simple, place-defining band name. Beaches. Gotta be Aussies.

I love that they formed in Melbourne: on a bay and flanked by coast.

I love that Beaches is a female outfit, adding a tongue in cheek element to the band name. (Say the word for female canine substituting ee for i.)

I love the album title, She Beats. The nuances make me smile.

She Beats, like ‘that woman over there, she wins’. Who does she beat? Perhaps the system: the triumph is getting this fine album recorded and released.

She Beats. Emphasise the first word, She—as in collectively female—Beats, as in rhythms.

 

 

I love the understated bottom end of Gillian Tucker (bass) and Karla Way (drums). A solid rhythm foundation on which to build towers of sound that sway and dissolve or reach and charge.

I love the guitar squall that evokes the wonderful debut by Secret Machines but is somehow airier, more spacious.

While we are on the Beaches sound, although largely instrumental, I love the back-in-the-mix vocals when they appear.

I really love the psychedelic wah-wah guitar; used like a paintbrush rather than a club.

 

 

I love that Alison Bolger, Ali McCann and Antonia Sellbach all play guitar (Rhythm and Wah Guitar, Rhythm, and Lead respectively).

I love the 60s surf guitar splashes,  the 60s garage slashes,  the 21st Century guitar surges.

I love that the songs roll and curl like surf, simultaneously powerful and fluid.

I love that Beaches are one of three bands that sit between the Beach Boys and the Beatles on the Vinyl Connection shelves.

 

 

Michael Rother from Neu! appears on two tracks. He is the perfect guest.

I love that other tonalities creep into the mix now and then, a touch of sax, organ or cello.

I love the design of the album cover, a geometric cross-hatch of reds and blue-green. Red heart, blue ocean. A vivid Australian palette that can be embraced without cringing.

I double love that the vinyl is deep, Pacific blue and that the label picks up the red-blue motif of the cover.

I love the occasional step-forward into vocal territory that deliciously evokes a garage Stereolab.

 

 

I love that after a four-year gap since this terrific 2013 release, Beaches have just released a new album.

*

25 comments

  1. I have Beach House and Beastie Boys in between the Beach Boys and Beatles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, as an antipodean, you really should add Beaches.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that this review made me want to buy this album.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marvellous! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay and then I did, you are a ban on my wallet.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. (Maniacal laughter!)

          Like

  3. I love the fact that, just as I was getting to the bottom of your ‘list of loves’ and starting to wonder whether you weren’t going to call out the enticing album cover art and the beautiful blue vinyl, you did just that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a terrific design, isn’t it? And I do love it when the design threads through the package.
      Interestingly, the new album has a similar style cover, but less vivid.

      Like

  4. I never heard of this band, dialed them up on YouTube, dug what I heard. Enjoyed that “guitar squall.” They definitely have their own sound. For the record, you will doubtless be amused to know that Wikipedia lists Beacon Street Union between Beach Boys and Beatles. It so happens they were a product of an ill-fated 1960’s record company marketing scheme to create a Boston trend that they labeled Bosstown Sound. Boston eventually developed its own eclectic sound from the grassroots up but that was just lame.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed Beaches, Jim. I reckon they deserve to be more widely known.

      Bosstown? Sounds like a Springsteen tribute band!

      Like

      1. Heh! Funny. Yeah, it was some dopey marketing guy trying to create a scene. Didn’t work. Either it grows organically or it never happens seems to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Between Baker, C. and Blakey, A? … could I fit Beaches in-between? You certainly make me wonder with this lovingly crafted review.
    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Given your tastes, DD, you’d probably be swimming between the flags with Basie, C. But this is an excellent album none-the-less.

      Like

      1. I did think of Basie, but file him under C using the full honourific. (Ah the joys of an idiosyncratic filing system).

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I need some Beaches in my life. This sounds pretty exceptional and I already have the latest on on my list. Spotify free trial is coming in handy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I live about as far away from the sea as you can get in Britain. The nearest resort is Skegness which, according to some old railway posters, is “so bracing!”. By that they mean the sea is battleship grey and the weather is mostly cold and windy. Only the hardiest of people go swimming there. But that’s what us Brits love if you believe the stereotype – that railway poster meant it as a compliment. 😮

    On balance I think I’d rather fry on an Australian beach than freeze on a British one but neither option seems particularly attractive just now. I’ll settle for an armchair and remembered echoes of the beaches we used to play on as kids. Hmm, I think I feel a song coming on …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love it. “Bracing” is code for f#@!ing freezing. Armchairs are good, especially for those times when we are reluctant to travel. Enjoy your songs…

      Like

  8. Wow. Both you and jhubner have loved this – I gotta get to it! Also: that is a glorious blue vinyl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes and Yes! (On first couple of listens to the new album, I think I prefer this. New one seems a bit plodding).

      Like

  9. I think Beastie Boys would be between Beach Boys/Beatles at the moment, based on your wonderfully positive review here Bruce, making room for Beaches sounds like a priority!
    I quite liked the wah wah as a paintbrush visual, not intrusive, but incorporated artistically.
    And I enjoy a saxaphone cameo sneaking into the mix as well.
    In addition to the stunning coastlines, I suppose Australia can add ‘professional hockey player producer’ to their CV – last night, Nathan Walker (Washington Capitals) made history by being the first Australian to play in the NHL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Saw that on tonight’s news. One of the youngest recruits too, I believe.
      And yes, I am giving ‘She Beats’ the big thumbs up.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. CB lives at the beach. Haven’t seen these gals yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, they are doing gigs to support the new album, so keep your binoculars peeled.

      Liked by 1 person

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