Bowery Electric
Beat


4.5
superb

Review

by Flashmobba USER (19 Reviews)
February 12th, 2018 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

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.

Recommended Tracks:
Empty Words
Black Light
Fear Of Flying



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Flashmobba
February 12th 2018


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

apologies for the heavy formatting, havent written in about a year damn. pos's and feedback appreciated!

danielcardoso
February 12th 2018


11684 Comments


Hey nice, this needed a review.

Album rules, need to rate it damn. Gonna read later as well : )

TheSpaceMan
February 12th 2018


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fuck yea dude i was gonna rev this because it deserved it but you saved me the hassle nice have a pos

Flashmobba
February 13th 2018


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers guys!

brainmelter
February 13th 2018


5380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice

Digging: Basalte - Vertige

Tyler.
February 13th 2018


14631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude nice

Flashmobba
February 14th 2018


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude thanks

Winesburgohio
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2018


2105 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey really good review! A couple of persnickety notes:



- it's not an ineffable sound if you can describe it, as you did well -- the effect can be ineffable in this context tho

- how is Beat true to its title? the claim is made but never backed up

- your second paragraph kind of says the same thing as your first

- be careful with band comparisons -- as someone who has heard all the artists touched on i wouldn't say all of them are nec. apt or analogous



otherwise cool as Hell and a lot of potential here imo imo

Digging: Alban Berg - Violin Concerto

danielcardoso
February 14th 2018


11684 Comments


"As someone who has heard all the artists touched on i wouldn't say all of them are nec. apt or analogous".

Yeah, this i agree with. To an extent, i kind of get the MBV reference on certain parts of the record, but comparing it to Slowdive is more of a stretch.

Flashmobba
February 14th 2018


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@wines thanks so much! yea i understand



guess i thought some songs were shoegazey in the style of slowdive, but yea ill work on my expression thanks

TheSpaceMan
February 14th 2018


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I kinda second the advice on band comparisons, more so because it's a sorta lazy reviewing tactic. I'd rather hear your interpretation of the sound and what's going down then just comparing it to a handful of shoegaze or trip hop groups

Flashmobba
February 16th 2018


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea i understand, tried to describe more than i compared though

TheSpaceMan
February 16th 2018


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah just something to keep in your back pocket going forward

Flashmobba
February 16th 2018


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea cheers man! gonna try to start writing regularly now - love these kinda albums that clear writer's block

TheSpaceMan
February 16th 2018


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Schwerd, keep at it. So many classics need some words

TheSpaceMan
May 16th 2018


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

seriously this album is so good, in the right mood i want to 5 it



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