Friday, 20 September 2013

Beach Arabs - Wild Movement

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


Yet another band with "Beach" in their title. Can you guess where they're from? The clue isn't in the name, they're another seaside-themed band from Brooklyn. All is not as contrived as it may seem though; Beach Arabs formed at college in 2010, and if you're wondering about the name, it comes from a John Frusciante song called 'Head (Beach Arab)'. Anyone who's heard Mr. Frusciante's solo work will know that it's a darn sight better than the diabolical band he's a part of, so if you're fearing any Red Hot Chili Peppers likenesses here then the results are far from it. 'Wild Movement' is the band's second album and still, happily, feels like a ramshackle combination of fantastic guitar-pop/rock sounds.

That said, we didn't hear the first album and we're told that 'Wild Movement' is more refined than the début. So fans of shambolic lo-fi fun might want to seek out 'Under The Whale'. Beach Arabs know the score when it comes to music like this; they throw in some experimental touches, leave in the odd bum note, keep the songs on display by not hiding them in a cabinet of production, go wherever the music takes them and keep every track somewhere in between the two and four-minute mark. As a result songs like 'Humiliated & Insulted' are all over the shop but this is what gives them their spark. 'Layers Of Caring' doesn't seem to know quite what it is and is all the better for it. 'What happened To Amber' is like a surf band on some very scary drugs and with little control of what they're doing, and you don't really notice the join between that and 'Under The Whale'.

They do hold things together a little better a times, but really their style wouldn't suit perfection. Single 'On The Beach' toys with math-rock, perhaps the guitar genre that requires you to be most precise, and it's actually a joy to hear it done a different way. 'My Son & I' is almost a normal lo-fi indie song, but they can't resist messing about with it a bit, and it's the same story with the grungy 'Big Bang Mountain'. They hit a splendid mid-album run with 'Drifters', a song which may take you back twenty years, then the excellent scuzz-bomb of 'Infinite Flesh' with its changing tempos. 'Abolish Mirrors' has a little something of the college-rock scene about it. To summarise: 'Wild Movement' sounds like a bunch of demos where the band can't even decide on one idea for a song, so they throw a load in, as if to preserve them for future reference and development. Only it's not demos, it's them. It's how they sound, and we like it.





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