Review Summary: Life was easy for a dog like me, I ran faster than anybody.
Although this is his major label debut, it wouldn’t be accurate to say that Alex G is a changed man. Either by meticulous crafting or complete lack thereof, Alex has managed to retain his signature sound; even evolve it with a stride greater than any that came before. His previous efforts, released solely via Bandcamp, felt like buried treasure. Alex has always had a knack for concocting subtly haunting yet heartfelt tunes, utilizing the juxtaposition of his jangly guitar riffs and vulnerable falsetto to paint a portrait of instability. However, these are unmistakably confident recordings. Rightfully so, as Alex has had plenty of time to establish his sound. The nature of his career thus far gives Beach Music
the aura of a record crafted by a fully-realized artist.
Longtime fans will be pleased to hear that nothing contained herein abounds with accessibility; on the contrary, it seems as though Alex has taken the opportunity to indulge a bit more. This is especially apparent in his repeated usage of pitch-shifting, a practice he has employed effectively to craft harmonies, and sometimes as a means of disassociation (e.g. “Brite Boy” features call-and-response pitch-shifted vocals). His lyrics almost always read like personal poetry: rough, unedited, and personal experience-laden. The honesty of this writing style ultimately shines through, most jarringly in the bare trumpet/piano composition “In Love.” Alex undoubtedly has a knack for creating atypical melodies, as is apparent in “Ready.” These melodies and the craftsmanship involved in making them work commands the listener’s attention.
Upon a closer listen of Beach Music
, the airy and atmospheric qualities of the record are drawn to the forefront. Subtle white noise is present in quieter songs, and the addition and subtraction of this white noise corresponding to the addition and subtraction of instrument tracks gives the listener an interesting insight into Alex’s recording process. This seems to have a strangely humanizing effect on the relatively inaccessible tracks and serves to further the honesty of the record. Ultimately, Beach Music
is a testament to Alex’s dedication to his craft; his hard work has most definitely paid off.