Album Review: Beak> – >>>

Let me start by saying that Beak> are a newfound love of mine since I discovered “Sex Music” and “Mono” probably on my Spotify discovery. Their latest album >>> has been on heavy rotation where I work now at Fingerprints music in Long Beach and I can’t get enough of it. Featuring members of Portishead and Moon Gangs, it’s no surprise that their collaboration has been so solid.

“Brean Down” was the first single shared from the album that came out just this past Friday, September 21, and it’ll instantly perk your ears up if you’re like me and have a radar for any new post-punk. The song is heavy, featuring a droning bass line and pinging guitar part. The track just moves, with the steady drum beat and rhythmic nature of the guitars and vocals.

The  10-track album is full of tasty surprises. “Birthday Suit” has a mesmerizing, downward cascading synth toward the end of the song that’ll  make you feel like you’re in a dream or a trance. “Harvester” is like a deep sigh and introduces a strong ’70s vibe with the added cello. “Allé-Sauvage” is an instrumental that would fit right in on the Stranger Things soundtrack. It starts with these synth flutters that just completely unravel by the end of the song, which is the longest on the album clocking in at over 7 minutes.

“King Of the Castle” is probably the most “upbeat” song on the album. It’s got a simple, repetitive guitar part but is meter changing from 4/4-3/4 each measure, giving it that prog rock edge. “RSI” is fast and psychedelic, featuring a krautrock beat and groovy synths that add layer upon layer to the track. “Abbots Lee” starts by going haywire experimental and sounds like you’ve turned off the album and resumed a horror film. About halfway through the track, it settles into a soothing guitar line over an angelic chord progression, like the light at the end of the tunnel, but then at the last minute goes dissonant again as if to say, “but wait…”

Speaking of angelic, “When We Fall” closes the album beautifully, with a delicate vocal harmony over gently plucked guitar, eventually adding strings. One of my favorite parts of the whole album is on this track, coming up on the minute 4 mark when the drum starts that krautrock pattern and the song just takes a dive into its’ own depths.

Through all the tracks, repetition is a key theme. Beak>’s strength is truly keeping their audience captive by knowing exactly when to add that extra layer or change up the pattern. >>> will have you gently headbanging for a full 43 minutes.

Listen on Spotify here:

Catch Beak> live with another one of my favorites, A Place To Bury Strangers just before they head out to Desert Daze. They’re playing at the Echo on October 10.

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