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As we've barely stopped banging on about, psychedelia is back in a big way. So now could be the perfect time for Beaulieu Porch to release this second album. A solo artist (Simon Berry) from the south of England, Beaulieu Porch released his debut album last year to much critical praise. Having missed out on the name so far, we can assume that much of this was from other internet sites and specialist psychedelia publications, which makes it no less important than getting a decent mark from NME or whatever, if anything the opposite's true. So if the psych crowd are hailing this guy as a big talent (and there has been some major praise) then us, being of a similar persuasion, should really see what the fuss is about and decide whether the plaudits are worthy in our own humble little opinion.
It takes approximately bugger-all time whatsoever to realise that they are. First track, 'Golda 03' rumbles into life with some great effects and an interesting voice; it sounds like music from another dimension, and then switches to what could be another song that's just as good with a glorious chorus. So within the space of the opening minute of song one, Beaulieu Porch has come up with two great songs' worth of ideas. If he can sustain this for the rest of the album it will be no mean feat. I guess we're playing devil's advocate by waiting for a downturn, but it doesn't come on second track 'The View From Gainsborough' which has single potential and is really what MGMT should be sounding like by now. The hippy lyrics about birds in trees that begin 'Limestone Head Of The Year' have us thinking we've got him, but then he loads it up with some ace brass sections and spectacular production before changing the course again for wonderful psych-pop waters.
Of course no-one's infallible, but we'll have to wait to find evidence of that because the soaring, guitar-laden, sparkling, twinkling, towering, Beatlesy brilliance of 'Anno Domini' doesn't put a foot wrong. Slow songs: classic indication of filler. The gentle strums of 'The Narcissists' is... really nice actually. That deep-psych groove that we've mentioned as being a current trend is given an airing on 'Daylight Faces', but in a more diverse and colourful manner than most and with a cracking end section that takes it somewhere else. Nick Drake-ish guitar starts off 'Of Particles' and the distorted vocals make it sound like song from that era, but tangents appear all over this album and the sighing vocal break here is another example. It's that generation (Syd Barrett, Kevin Ayres, early prog bands) that are the inspiration for 'We Are Today', a song that sounds from another time but swells to become more orchestral towards the end. Next is 'Amen', another glistening peek into a magical world that only exists in dreams or on very good drugs, and finally 'Is' with its backwards guitars, John Lennon vocals, meandering time signatures and orchestral flourishes. We give up. It's simple: the only fault with 'We Are Beautiful' is that it might not appeal to people who have an inherent hatred of all things psychedelic. A sublime work.
Beaulieu Porch's website
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