Review Summary: Dream pop for those who like dream pop
Beachy Head’s self-titled album is the first release from an indie supergroup featuring two members from Slowdive, two members from The Flaming Lips, and one member from The Soft Cavalry. Given the bandmates’ backgrounds, it’s no surprise that Beachy Head’s sound falls into an indie style, but they trend heavily towards Slowdive’s direction. The result is a short and sweet collection of tunes leaning towards dream pop (especially) and shoegaze (to a lesser extent), with a helping of Britpop and alt-rock as well.
It should be noted promptly that this is not an innovative release in any way. While Beachy Head delve into several directions throughout the album’s eight tracks, all of the styles pursued have been explored an ample number of times previously. That critique aside, though, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-executed piece. Despite variation in tempo and mood through the songs, the band maintains an airy feel throughout. The results are a nice summer record with decent replay value, and no bad tracks.
Opener “Warning Bell” alerts the listener of what to expect from much of the rest of the LP, It’s an almost-plodding but melodious number, which turns out to be subtly catchy. It lays out a pattern for several of the more reserved tracks scattered throughout the album, the best of which may be the second-half gem “October” with its simultaneously dreary and beautiful presentation. Meanwhile, the second track “Michael” is the first representation of the slightly heavier side of the album, featuring muscular guitar underscoring the soaring vocals. This alt-rock tinged style reappears later in the album with “Looking For Exits” and “Hiddensee”, the latter of which is perhaps the album’s most infectious, feeling like a song which wouldn’t be out of place on a Ride album. As can be seen from this summary, Beachy Head has a bit of dual approach here, with a mixture of more fast-paced and harder-rocking songs and slower, dreamier tunes, which ultimately come together in a coherent fashion.
All told, Beachy Head haven’t broken any new terrain here, but taken on its own merits this is a very good debut. The self-titled album can be recommended to anyone in the mood for something dreamy who has twenty-nine minutes on their hands (yes, it’s that short). Beachy Head probably won’t change the minds of those who don’t enjoy their chosen genre, but for those who do, they’ve produced a worthwhile collection which touches on several existing threads within the shoegaze/dream-pop mosaic.