Beach Creeps' debut record is a chunky slice of emotive alt-rock, with guitars muted and then squeezed until all the strings have lost their life and are all tucked out. With a vocal obscured in the mix that recalls Superchunk but less clear, they use a base approach to shoegaze as a way of distorting the view and making the sunny weather seem less than perfect.
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It seems that a few months ago I carelessly decreed that this sounded like Superchunk from hearing a fragment of a song, which is good grounds for me being tried and sentenced in a court of law and then forced to walk an endless deserted road for the rest of my life. The punishment fits the crime, considering that this is one of the most thoroughly, resplendently un-Superchunk records of all time. I’ll get my things.
Anyway, while I’m walking that post-apocalyptic trail of indie rock descriptor failures, let’s talk about Beech Creeps. Their self-titled record screeches and howls and groans with a hundred shades of feedback -- the first track offers the sound of a guitar being shaken and turned upside down and buried, recalling one of White Suns’ guitar abstractions but without the yelped vocals. Beech Creeps do sing, though, which is the most accessible part of their sound -- their vocalist has strands of Pixies’ Black Francis, but he’s serving a cause of pure evil rather than merely singing about it, buried under riffs that are being crunched inbetween a giant’s teeth.
This is noise, but it’s tight as fuck: all of the distortion feels well calibrated, and even seems to climax perfectly, and while the record is mostly founded on faultlines, the band trace their way back to melodies and sneak them in under the rubble. “Times Be Short” sounds like a romantic slab of indie rock underneath the relentless shoegaze, recalling A Place To Bury Strangers’ knack for hiding their tweeness underneath. It’s surprisingly gorgeous. Occasionally the band come too close, and it’s obvious why we usually hear them in a sonic thunderstorm: “Son of Sud” sounds a little silly and the backing vocals give it a prog affectation. Ultimately, though, this is high grade shit-gazing. Feel it at your preferred volume.
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