When Beep Beep released their first album off of Saddle Creek Records, one was hard pressed not to find the similarities to heralded post-punk groups like Q and Not U, which is not really a far off comparison, seeing how far the group have gone in changing their sound on the group’s second album, Enchanted Islands.
Of course you will notice that knife-like guitar licks still cleverly cut through the album with precision, but what has evolved beyond the angular guitar-play is the evolution of the funk. Bass lines are much more pronounced this time around, at least on songs like “Secrets for the Well” or “The Whispering Waves.”
More pronounced on this album, however, is the conceptualization, or the effort that Eric Ray and Chris Terry put into telling a story with each different tune. Some stories revolve around traditional mysticism, such as struggles with mermaids, while others like “Seppuku” are interested in Japanese ritualistic suicide through disembowelment. It’s not necessarily a unified concept that runs throughout the album, but one of different perspectives on enchantment. It’s is this disjointed approach to the album that both succeeds and holds the band back at moments. In success, the band has crafted a varying album, layered with changes in tempo and structure, as well as vocal pitch. Each song opens up like a Russian matryoshka dolls, revealing pieces within pieces. At the same time, the effort seems disjointed at moments, as if the epic storytelling proved too much for those at the helm.
You will find some straightforward songs in the presentation of this album, both seeming to tie into each other, lyrically. The ease with which a listener can approach these songs allows for them to shine in the mix of the album, as they step out for just a moment before being consumed again by the whole of the album. “Return to Me” and “I Miss You” both loosely rely upon a classic approach, with gentle guitar accompanied by soaring lyrics. Odds are that most casual listeners will find these the standout tracks, as they are easily consumed, but more rewarding moments exist throughout the entirety of the record.
And that is how it all comes to be on Enchanted Islands, as one must journey with the band, through the dark and light moments, behind the chords and into the lyrics. Each time you find yourself traveling one way, the wind blows, moving you in an entirely new direction within the album, which makes Beep Beep one of the more interesting listens to come out at this point in the year.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/10-i-miss-you.mp3]
Download: Beep Beep – I Miss You [MP3]