Record Reviews

She Beats

Cultivating a unique creative schema from its foundation, Beaches isn’t merely a group of people playing music together. They’ve built on ideas and skill sets developed in parallel to the band itself, its conception – as a handful of friends from different musical backgrounds and varying degrees of proficiency – was always going to be one based on mutual support and intuition. As five minds for the one musical body, there was a holistic convergence of the physical and spiritual that distinguished their sound in their acclaimed [self-titled debut](/releases/2000166). Their long-awaited follow-up carries on in that tradition.

From the fleshy bass line of ?Granite Snake? to the distant vocals and ambient wah pedal of ?Out of Mind?, Beaches continue to generate that swell, that transfer of energy that is both physical and transcendent. The momentum of ?Keep on Breaking Through? carries through a sense of movement as Karla Way’s cymbals rattle through a fog of guitars played in communion. ?Dune? travels across an abstract and expansive sonic geography, while inducing images of endless sand hills. Because, in the same way that the outcome of Beaches* was dictated by the restrictions of a vinyl release – shortening potentially epic jams to fit the time allowance, splitting its tone into two distinct halves – *She Beats grounds its psychedelic tendencies in coarsely scattered reverb, off notes and straining vocals.

Of course, there’s no topping the marching pulse of ?Horizon? or the cloudburst rhythm of ?Sandy? from 2008?s Beaches*, even with contributions from Neu! guitarist Michael Rother on three songs of *She Beats. But it certainly comes close to reaching an impossibly high personal benchmark. An almost meditative process, the album challenges you to invest the time necessary for reaping immeasurable benefits by bringing the tracklisting to the brink of boredom before the Eastern-sounding ?Veda? offers something of a payoff. Its exquisitely scattered rhythms and the positive mantra of ?It’s in your mind/all in good time? is layered over its core vibrations, while an untuned cello rasps into oblivion.

Then there’s the bawdy pop of ?Runaway?. A dreamy gaze upwards, it’s what you could describe as a cosmic take on The Breeders (especially with its pitch-bending guitar lines and thin though oddly genial voices), the intricate vocal harmonies of Grass Widow and then the muted, muffled wall of noise of My Bloody Valentine. But then, those are arbitrary signifiers, based in availability and used to try to place a band along a historical narrative that they’re just not a part of. That’s because Beaches transcend time in a sound that is at once unique and familiar, grounded and otherworldly.