Beaches: Second Of Spring

- All female Melbourne quartet Beaches have been one of the premier purveyors of pummelling, psych-rock since releasing their self titled debut in 2008. A younger, fresher faced version of myself can still recall waves of hazy euphoria wash over me as I would sporadically enter a very small walk-in-wardrobe filled to the brim with mismatched and oddly smelling cushions that I would harness as a safe space for my youthful musical adventures, often zoning out to the face melting sounds of that self-titled LP.

Fast forward nine years and while that magical share house is now a relatively unsuccessful coffee shop on Brisbane's Northside, my lack of ambition and love of chilling have remained firmly intact; and while I'd like to give myself the benefit of the doubt, I'm probably entering another decade of shambolic decadence. In my defence I'd like to think my taste in music has evolved as I continue to jam things into my ears and while I've always kept half an eye on Beaches, it hasn't been until recently that I've aimed my laser-like focus into their direct path.

After four relatively chilled years from Beaches, their spicy antics have heated up for the approaching release of third full length, and a double LP at that, Second Of Spring. It also aligns almost perfectly with the decade anniversary since their very first shows and if you put a musical microscope on that period of time you'd certainly notice two things; barely any of the bands from that era didn't eventually implode or simply fade into nothingness, and in that time there's been a gradual and almost universal shift away from sharp, angular guitar rock, a brief stint in "dolewave" territory and now a split between synth driven glory and a slightly underwhelming realm of middle of road, uninspiring nothing rock that makes my ears bleed with sorrow.

Without reinventing their own wheel, Beaches latest Second Of Spring is the nuanced evolution of a sound that, when done as gorgeously as this, will never not have a place in my heart. Light dabbles of lyricism and harmonies aside, Beaches are first and foremost a guitar band, but an extemely complex and sonically transcendent one. Their overdriven, shred heavy jams often possess a slight shoegazey vibe to them, without any of the pretension often associated with the genre; instead it feels like an all-out jam-sesh that never outlasts its welcome, even coming in at a whopping seventy-six minute run time.  

While diehards might argue that every great rock record should be lovingly consumed via the way of vinyl, Second Of Spring makes a pretty good case for that argument. Both individual LPs are just perfect as stand alone records; distinct and compelling enough to make them wonderful in their own way while still each encompassing that sound that Beaches have made their trademark. Enjoyed as one mammoth chunk, the record almost morphs from the Beaches of old to their current iteration as seasoned psych-rock veterans; that second half more quirky and experimental than ever before. Saxophone, keys, synth, whistling and somekind of pan flute seem to come into play as the record descends into a maelstrom of aural delight. It's the kind of record that you might intend to put on just in the interim of life, whilst enjoying a cheeky cup of tea on the patio, and before you know it you're thirty-five minutes late for work and too mellow to mind. I've lost my train of thougth.Hopefully not my job. Second Of Spring is Beaches greatest achievement to date. Cop this record if you enjoy guitars and things that don't stink. Thank you for your time.

- Jay Edwards.

Album Details

Album Title: Second Of Spring
Artist: Beaches
Record Label: (Chapter)