Review Summary: "Words are just noise".
Blending post-rock, trip-hop and shoegaze into an ineffable yet unmistakably potent sound, New York City's eclectic duo Bowery Electric was a force to be reckoned with. Combining the visceral songwriting of My Bloody Valentine with the waterlogged textures of Slowdive, the group's self-titled debut was an obscure masterpiece. However, their sophomore LP, Beat
, pushed them into a whole new echelon of musical grandeur.
True to its title, Beat
is an uncompromising, succinct and haunting effort which floats, soars and transcends in its duration of 63 minutes. Merging fuzz and tremolo with blistering trip-hop and post-rock soundscapes, each track conjures an ominous yet inviting aura. As a result, the sonic semblance of the record is an orgy of captivating, languid albeit pensive sounds. The vocals and music are almost impossible to tell apart, resulting in a velvety wall of sound akin to Loveless
' most evocative moments.
Opener and titular track Beat
incorporates an infectious drum loop with extremely sinister bass rhythms and ambient flourishes, hinting at what the rest of the record will sound like. Elsewhere, the melancholy and gorgeous Black Light
portrays the album's more fuzzy, post-rock sound, alongside tracks like Coming Down
and Fear Of Flying
. Other highlights include the trodding giant, Inside Out
, which is an entirely instrumental foray into muddy shoegaze territory, as well as Without Stopping
- the record's most foreboding yet groove-laden endeavour. However, the album's clear standout is the relatively brief gem, Empty Words
, a majestic and almost cheerful piece. However, even the happier moments on the album never lose touch with the gloom and doom they're ostensibly trying to erase.
There's also some ambient interludes in the form of Looped
and Under The Sun
, whose ghastly refrains from the typical post-rock repertoire make them all the more chilling. And finally, the album closes with the cinematic din of Postscript
, a 16-minute ambient epic reminiscent of Autechre and Aphex Twin.
And as quietly as it began, Bowery Electric's sophomore effort ends, proving its worth as the duo's magnum opus. Heavily overshadowed and criminally underrated, Beat
warrants a listen from even the most skeptical of music fans - at worst, the album's a cluster*** of noise, but at best, it's a magnificent cluster*** of noise
Fear Of Flying