Slowdive members Rachel Goswell and Christian Savill, Flaming Lips drummer Matt Duckworth Kirksey, Steve Clark of The Soft Cavalry and Graveface Records founder Ryan Graveface have formed a new supergroup, Beachy Head. Along with the formation of the group, the band has shared their first single “Destroy Us,” and announced their self-titled debut album for release on April 30. The band’s name honors Beachy Head, a chalk cliff in Sussex, which is both a popular beach spot and a notorious suicide location.
Christian and I recorded the structure of these tuns in Savannah two weeks before the pandemic hit, and we’ve been file-trading ever since,” Graveface said in a press release.
Featuring grand guitars and echoing vocals, the track meshes the sounds of Slowdive, Flaming Lips and The Soft Cavalry, creating a lush soundscape that highlights the best from each group. Repeating “destroy us” in soft rhythms, guitars washing over them as the drums continue a steady beat to anchor the instrumentals.
“In 2019 Christian Savill found himself alone and with a year off from playing guitar for his grown-up band Slowdive,” the Bandcamp description for the track reads. “He started writing and demoing songs with no particular plan. From 2001 he had recorded with longtime friend and collaborator Sean Hewson as Monster Movie releasing several albums on Graveface Records. These new ideas felt different in that they’re more personal and honest.”
The new single’s lyrics focus on themes of pain within love, singing “To my love, like a drug, that will kill me every time? Destroy us, destroy us? Move on, like you always do.” Synths sparkle as the lyrics echo through the track, the instrumentals carrying heavy tones with a hint of darkness.
“Christian sent these sketches to good friends and multi-instrumentalists, Ryan Graveface (Dreamend/The Casket Girls) and Steve Clarke (The Soft Cavalry), and Beachy Head was formed,” the Bandcamp description said. “Ryan and Christian put flesh on the bones in Savannah just before Covid struck. Matt Duckworth (Flaming Lips) added drums. In between lockdowns back in the UK Steve added harmonies and other instrumentation. The final touch of recording was Rachel Goswell (Slowdive/Mojave 3/The Soft Cavalry/Minor Victories) contributing vocals on a few songs.”
The Flaming Lips have remained busy during the pandemic, managing to perform shows in recent months by putting fans in socially-distanced bubbles. So far, the shows have only taken place in Oklahoma, with the band selling out three performances in the month of March.
Slowdive hinted last September that they had begun working on their fifth album, teasing images from the studio on Instagram with the hashtag #slowdivelp5. The upcoming album will serve as the follow-up to their self-titled LP that had been released in 2017, which ranked No. 3 in mxdwn’s Top 50 Best Albums of 2017 list.
The Casket Girls released the album The Night Machines in 2016, which had served as the follow-up to 2015’s The Piano Album. Dreamend premiered their 2018 single “A Year and A Day” on mxdwn, the album coming ahead of their self-titled release from that same year. The Soft Cavalry shared their own self-titled album in 2019.
Beachy Head tracklist:
1. Warning Bell
4. All Gone
5. Looking for Exits
8. Destroy Us
Photo credit: Owen Ela