Friday, March 20, 2015

Cassette Revew: Borrowed Beams of Light / New Boss Split (Funny/Not Funny Records)

The first thing that I feel the need to point out about this cassette is that while it is labeled as a "split", the fact is that I don't think of it as one.   To me, a split cassette is when two bands come together to form one album.   So let's say a typical album is between ten to twelve songs, then each band on a split would be five or six songs.    However both Borrowed Beams of Light and New Boss have enough songs on each of these sides to account for an entire full length so this is more like a double full length to me.  

On Side A Borrowed Beams of Light bring out the better sides of new wave and what could possibly also go under a -gaze genre.    Their melodies and harmonies have hints of pop and fall somewhere between The Benjamins and Flaming Lips.     It's dreamy bliss and upbeat, though that should go without saying given the melody/harmony note.     In some ways it reminds me of The Killers, but it's really not that close and so you'll have to forgive me on that one.

Borrowed Beams of Light has that sound that should be easy enough to place but simply isn't.    They have that familiar feel of a band I should be able to call out but I can't.    There are some obvious Beatles elements to this as well as synth keys.    It's a little bit of Cage the Elephant even.    But still, for all that I can think about it and all I can draw from in my vast references to other artists I simply cannot come up with a fitting comparison.

New Boss begins Side B with Modern English guitars and though the first song seems to have the vocals hidden under layers of them and other instruments they do become more prominent in the following songs.    From the triumphant country-like sounds of that Steppenwolf driving guitar only in a slower way to the eventual Rush factors, New Boss just rocks.

They are a little bit easier to pin down than BBL but only in the way that you can hear a particular song and think it sounds like a cross between the Ramones and Weezer and, well, I have yet to find that combination anywhere other than here.   So yes and no, in terms of whether or not you can have a better accuracy in figuring New Boss out but I still enjoy New Boss just as much as Borrowed Beams of Light.

When cassettes were in their prime they had a long run of good music released on them as they went through grunge and then even had some of the music which came after grunge even though the CD had already reared its ugly head.    They really captured my youth- from the time that I was born- into my formitive years as a music listener.    This cassette and these two bands cover that in perhaps its best ways, falling not into one spot on that timeline but rather different points of excellence.

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