This trio of Brooklynites have shown up to the party with salt in their hair and grime on their faces.
The first utterance of Beech Creep’s eponymous debut is mammoth in length; beginning with and primarily consisting of a hideous wall of bowel-rupturing feedback. Kind of reminiscent of Elton John’s “Funeral For A Friend,” only instead of pianos Beech Creeps use really loud distorted guitars and play dissonant drone chords instead of soft pretty ones. For the first four (4) minutes of “Everybody Loves The Beech” it’s impossible to tell if this band is gearing up to to play post-rock or stoner metal or some new subgenre of really, really angry shoegaze, or even ascend into a Brain-Eno style cosmic crescendo, leaving the realm of blues-influence completely. The initial uncertainty is oddly telling, as Beech Creeps have clearly resolved to foil critics’ attempts at categorizing their deceptively straightforward vortex of bluesy noise. It’s over half-way through the first cut, while listeners are still grasping at notions of why this song might be called something as innocuous as “Everybody Loves The Beech,” when a sunny, dreamy guitar chord peaks through the nauseating din. From there, it’s a bit of a wild ride.
With crashing cymbals and a jagged guitar tone “Teenage Boogie” sounds like a grimy, psychedelic stoner take on Ventures-style surf rock. The result sounds like a dash of Kyuss mixed with an even tracer scent of Hawkwind-era Lemmy, especially during the hazy, overdriven guitar solo. Conversely, the Creeps’ reverence for alternative rock and Generation X garage punk like Pixies and Bikini Kill shines through in the song’s dry, room-centric production, along with its bass line that emits more treble than low end. “Times Be Short” kicks off with an unexpectedly sunny little riff, sailing along in a major key for the most of the voyage and devolving into a spiral of warm, blanketing fuzz and what has to be one of the catchiest, most uplifting grunge-metal riffs ever penned.
In “Son of Sud” Beech Creeps snap awake, standing at attention with a punchy four-on-the-floor riff topped with a confrontational sneer. The song is built on a punk-ish foundation, but the New Wave of British Heavy Metal-style harmonized guitar flourishes will undoubtedly throw hardcore purists for a loop. The hilariously titled “Arm of the T-Rex” is fittingly Melvins-esque, driven by prehistoric toms and topped with wildman shrieks and off-key chordal stabs. Beech Creeps give the stylistic wheel of fortune another spin with “On The Beech,” channeling New Order via a melodic bass line and delay drenched single-note arpeggios to produce echoing post-punk. The contrast of the mournful croons of “The beach” amid the gruff, extreme metal-style vocals is a welcomed and increasing rarity. “Long Walk Home” falls back into to the screeching pit of static from whence “Everybody Loves The Beech” began, emerging with a final, percussive death rattle of a guitar lead.
In the wake of their first record, Beech Creeps have left us a flooring range of moods sculpted with a startlingly narrow range of textures; the bass and guitar stick to the same fuzzy, dry tone for most of the album. Even so, every influence from Black Flag to Bikini Kill – to even the even the slightest touch of thrash and sludge metal – are represented in some fragmented form on Beech Creeps. With a debut this strong, it’s reasonable to predict that this power trio has a long and thrilling career ahead of them – the fun part will be finding out which musical road they want to travel.
Also, anyone who goes to see them at SXSW should see if Beech Creeps sound as heavy as they do on their first record.