Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
Written by: AP on 19/04/2017 09:33:30
It is not uncommon for a musician to engage in projects other than their primary outfit, nor use them for toying with more outlandish ideas than their day-jobs permit. But the total disconnect of Beachheads from guitarist Vidar Landa and bassist Marvin Nygaard’s main occupation, Kvelertak, is a more unusual phenomenon, as typically, such side-projects tend to have explicit traces of the musician’s signature style and thus sound at least somewhat similar. There is no evidence of Kvelertak’s metal’n’roll in Beachheads’ brand of power-pop, however; the flavours of indie, Britpop and Americana and bittersweet lyricism are a world apart and without knowing that the two gentlemen are involved in this self-titled début, one would never have guessed it. To the trained ear, the driving riffs in “Despair” and “Monologues” have Landa’s watermark all over them — add distortion to them, and they rather resemble “Blodtørst” and “Bronsegud” from Kvelertak’s repertoire — but as the lone connecting thread this hardly warrants a comparison.
One instead homes in on another, more tangible reminiscence: Oasis — or rather, how much Børild Haughom’s voice resembles Liam Gallagher’s. With a husky and sort of languid style that sometimes feels a bit monotonous, Haughom sings candidly, if somewhat prosaically, of heartbreak, loss and resignation against a backdrop of melodies and rhythms that are much sunnier than the subject matter calls for. The juxtaposition is interesting but it also lessens the gravity of the experiences portrayed; it gives the false impression that Haughom is shrugging his shoulders and thinking, ”C’est la vie”, when in reality his lyricism betrays a deeply affected person. The laissez faire-ness and lack of poesy thus reduces the impact of pieces like “Break Me Down”, “Reverberations” and the aforementioned “Monologues” somewhat, all of which have the riffs, frills and catchy choruses otherwise needed to create a lasting impression. In fact, most of “Beachheads”’ running length carries those traits, falling easy on the ear, offering hooks galore and uncovering vivid soundscapes laced with brass and piano and lush guitar arrangements.
Beachheads have thus managed to assemble a deceptively pleasant collection of songs to hum, sing along and relate to. But that does not mean that the effort is without creases. Once the immediate appeal of catchiness subsides, one begins to notice the limited variety and unyielding dynamics that conspire to rid individual songs of their distinctions. One realises that apart from being good sing-along fodder, there is little depth in Haughom’s lyricism to be inspired by and virtually no moment when his voice invites special attention to it. “Beachheads” is a sound début though — one which may not be claiming any prizes but nonetheless packs enough quality to deserve the attention from fans of power-pop and indie-punk alike.
Download: Break Me Down, Reverberations, Monologues
For the fans of: Cast, Husker Dü, Oasis, Pure Love
Release date 03.02.2017