You know those moments in 70′s Rock albums, where everything gets kind of slightly creepy, delicate and folksy? Like when the panflutes in Stairway to Heaven turn up on Led Zeppelin IV. Sure, it’s all rock attitude, but everything gets kind of, slow, and you’re not sure if it’s ironic or not – those kind of bad acid moments that ring out across the steps of your house party in the early morning?
From out in Los Angeles, Bowery Beasts are a two piece band that play a strange kind of throwback glamour rock. Their new release, Heavy You is out July 5, and for an EP consisting of five songs, and it features those kinds of moments in spades.
With florid finger-picking, heavy pulsing rock licks, and swaggering vocals (and yes, even the odd panflute), the new record brings to mind a bunch of influences, ranging from Thin Lizzy, T-Rex, and Slade. Weirdly, it manages to somehow avert the risk of of rock and roll clichés by plowing straight into them, pants down. The end result is a kind of stylised, cool take on the glam rock genre. I had the same reaction to this band that I have to bands like Wolfmother. Part of me is like – “come on guys, you can’t be serious?”, and part of me, a more visceral part, totally gets it, and is singing along, posing and pouting like a rock star. From all reports, these guys rock a pretty impressive live show – if you get a chance, see ‘em live.
My favourites included the woodland folk vibe of Rock and Rock Queen, Young Rockers – a straight ahead killer rock song, with a catchy chorus and stomping driving guitars, and the plaintive Amulet showcases frontman Marion Belle’s formidable vocal skill, with delicate harmonies swelling to a crescendo that would totally warrant the London Symphony Orchestra, (once these guys are both in and out of rehab and on their reunion tour in 2020) – Check it out below.
[Musichord's Fresh Listen series focuses on new, unsigned and awesome music that folks may not have heard yet - if your band, or your friend's band, or those guys playing down the local have something you'd like to turn us on to, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Are there really any other serious contenders for the title of ”Coolest band in the known universe”?
The Strokes This is It was released in 2001, and has since become something of a classic record, which is perhaps not surprising, as it kind of always had a very classic kind of vibe. With a late night, decidedly retro, simplistic and hugely stylish sound comprised of duelling guitars, solid rhythms and Julian Casablancas incredibly cool, I-really-couldn’t-care-less leather jacket and sunglasses attitude powered vocals, This is It is largely seen as the high water mark for the band
Since then however, reception has been varied, with recent albums seeming less coherent (although not really any less cool). Angles, the band’s 4th Album is perhaps the most confusing record I’ve yet encountered by the New York quintet. Stylistically, it’s all over the place, with some tunes showcasing everything that is great about the band, and others just leaving me a bit confused as to where we were actually going.
The first Single, Under Cover of Darkness feels like a forgotten track from This Is It -with pumping basslines and sweet guitar interplay that just screams “This is the Strokes!” and then at the other end of crazytown, we have things like Gratisfaction – a jaunty, 70′s rock tune that is all hot soft light Thin Lizzy, or Status Quo, with it’s big harmony chorus kick “You’re never gonna get my love!”. Also, Call Me Back, which has Julian phoning the lyrics in over some indulgent noodly, Brian Ferry style guitars. In a way the whole album has a kind of a “Rock Band:The Strokes” vibe to it – except that all of the obscure 70′s and 80′s tracks are played by the same band, wearing big hair wigs in one video, and skinny leather ties in another. On first listen, It’s all kind of head-scratchy.
One thing it isn’t though, is boring – The record does deliver a lot more to enjoy than more recent efforts, and the slightly kooky feel to the album just adds to the bands coolness. On Taken For Granted Julian sings – “You’re so gullible, but I don’t mind” – I can’t help but think he’s singing to his fans.
Which is one of those things about coolness – if you are actually cool, you just do whatever the hell you want, and that makes you cooler.
Musichord Rating: 8/10