Wednesday, December 03, 2008
NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB
Right from doors open-o'clock tonight, the merch desk is busy. Custom Beaches t-shirts find new homes and their new self-titled CD, that is tonight launched like a rocket flies off the table. Cyclical rhythms and repetitive basslines are this evening's order it seems, and their appeal lies at the heart of any success that Lindsey Low Hand may lay claim to. Quite why this band exist or what they're intending to get across are mysteries by the end of their mercifully short set, but the music - as trashy as the name - clearly holds some appeal, like the proverbial fascination with car crashes. Scott O'Hara's vocals are so abhorrently repulsive and whiny that it has obviously taken some effort to manufacture this particular timbre and lack of range that allows him to so effectively communicate whatever it is that's annoying him so much. Like Craig Dermody's basslines that never make it to a fourth note, repetition is part of their strength. Thankfully the band are aware of the appeal of the short song so it's bursts of post-grunge surf-pop that we get from LLH; yet another resolutely unmusical three-piece held together by a decent drummer.
A mess of lanky blonde heads amble on to the stage and whip up a maelstrom of lethargic howling, atonal dual vocals and scratchy riffs which is then rinse/repeat/regurgitated ten times. Here to launch a 7-inch entitled Total Waste Circle Pit are quite clearly familiar with stoner rock which they loose the appeal of by playing it like they're about to get busted. Devoid of dynamics and any sense of narrative songs plod along on Moe Tucker slamming and slack-stringed basslines until the band stop. A format that is totally fine if you're going for a groove or stoner rock bliss, but the vocals are too jarring and songs like Dead Meat and Hurricane make you briefly ponder the value of hearing their 7-inch on 33rpm before wishing Beaches would hurry up.
Though motorik rock is possibly the easiest type of music to play - no need to worry about lyrics or chord changes, rhythm shifts, drum fills or song structures - Beaches take this simplicity draw you in with it, allowing the subtleties of their personalities to become magnified. It's communal music. Like No Age, Beaches recognise the value of production. Their sounds are crystal clear, every guitar has it's place and equal value and also like No Age, who take drums and guitar and transform them into an array of sounds with scant regard for verse/chorus, Beaches transport you with simple yet perfectly phrased lead breaks from Antonia Sellbach, subtle use of wah-wah from Ali McCann and imaginatively simple basslines from Gill Tucker, but the whole band are a unit and it's intriguing to see their dynamics and how the songs are so organically generated. Horizon, The Rip and Eternal Sphere are all fine vehicles for their sound, and it's great to see vocals play a bigger part in their songs, but it's Free Way and Sandy that totally rule, as it seems this band will come end-of-year-poll time.