Beak’s third album, >>>, follows on from > and >>. Does this show a lot or very little imagination when it comes to naming albums? Anyway, the classy electronic three-piece who are led by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow have taken another step forward and their sound grows along with the stages they’re invited to play on. LP and CD on Invada.
LP £22.99 INV201LP
LP on Invada.
- Shipping cost: £3.15 ?
- Includes download code.
CD £7.99 INV201CD
Digipak CD on Invada.
- Shipping cost: £1.00 ?
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Whirring through time like an endlessly forwarded email chain, you’d certainly be forgiven for comparing this new Beak> album to the antics of avant-rock pioneers Can. Geoff Barrow’s borrowed at least a couple of their aesthetic imprints in the making of this band, and here they come out unabashed. Through perpetual synth shimmer and tightly-knit guitar action as cinematic as Last Ex (who are, in turn, as cinematic as John Carpenter), >>> becomes a wonderful mix of the uncanny and the futurist -- and another winning bundle of aloof from this great band.
Unfortunately no amount of being good at music is going to forgive the utter smelliness of “King of the Castle”, a quasi-prog workout that shatters any and all atmosphere formerly governing over proceedings. This comes in on track seven, so you’ve got plenty of time to sink into this record’s low-key cool; by the time it’s been given the space to grow, it’s turned into its very own special workout of trigonometric rock music, somehow bringing about its goofiness into a brilliant and suddenly deadpan jam. I feel apologetic for even beginning this paragraph derisively, but such is the power of a Beak> song: whatever they’re doing at the beginning, they’ll have convinced you by the middle.
As Beak> age, they continue to experiment with dissent and discordance, writing shockingly vampiric chords and bringing in shrill keyboards to tune literally all of their listeners out of their typical expectations. Moments like these are brilliant, a kind of subterfuge on a record that is mostly felt through hypnotic rhythms and unrelenting motifs. Hearing Beak> abstract a little bit, in between all of this, is a delight, and hearing them stretch these moments back into their krautrock M.O. is worthy of all the plaudits. All of them. They remain our favourite non-tribute band tribute band to Can.
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