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The U.K. based trio BEAK> consists of members Geoff Barrow (Portishead), Billy Fuller (Fuzz Against Junk), and Matt Williams (Team Brick). Their first self titled album BEAK was released in 2009, >> is their second album which was released digitally on June 2, 2012, and will be released physically on July 12, 2012. Geoff Barrow is set to tour Europe with his other project, Portishead, before the physical release of this album. The listening is strange, and that is part of its charm.
The overall sound of this album is an interesting blend consisting of spacey, trippy, and experimental music. Some different influences come to mind while giving this a listen such as Joy Division, Radiohead, and even Portishead with its air of remote attachment. The vocals are minimal, but haunting with occasional howling or wailing. It’s reminiscent of Ian Curtis from Joy Division, which is especially prevalent in the song titled “Wulfstan.” Retro sounding organs, trippy and almost off-key strings, tambourine hits, droning bass lines, and chamber reverberated effects all give this album an almost drug-like, hypnotic feel. It’s like going on a journey of exotic sound landscapes and is truly a different experience. There is an early post-punk sound here, as well as a slightly darker gothic motif. Overall, it’s easy to get the feeling that this band had fun experimenting with different sounds, seemingly without boundaries to the level of artistic creativity. It’s funky, it’s different, and it’s bold.
This album is recommended for fans of bands like Joy Division, Radiohead, Portishead, and also for anyone who enjoys experimental music in general. It’ll take you on a far out trip; an abstract journey into strange sound landscapes.