Thursday, April 23, 2015
Cassette Review: Smiling Disease "Beach Bodies: 2008-2014" (Memorials of Distinction)
[£5 // Edition of 100 // https://memorialsofdistinction.bandcamp.com/album/beach-bodies-2008-2014]
As the title of the cassette indicates, this is a collection of songs over the course of six years and while some artists might take that long to create an album it just isn't the same sort of case here. The idea behind "Beach Bodies" that I really like though is that this music was being made sort of in secret for whatever reason and now the vast majority of people are hearing it for the very first time. (Like me)
"Beach Bodies" begins with a rock song that is similar to Wheatus and Coheed and Cambria but it doesn't really maintain that sound throughout. It is dreamy and there are influences of Silversun Pickups (or depending upon the time frame, perhaps it is the other way around), something I like to call beatgaze (which is exactly what it sounds like) and then it does becomes somewhat darkwave as well.
Trippy moments have me hearing a drum machine and then it slows down and has this mellow Lou Reed type of sound. Side A ends with an ambient soundscape that brings out those crystal tones and in a lot of ways this is a collection of songs but seems more like a compilation by various artists. There is just something I cannot put my finger on but it does tie all of these songs together, despite the various genres they cross.
Side B has beats and strings and when I began to question whether or not it might be noise I started to hear elements of Murder by Death. It grows into a dark electronic sound and then it turns into something darker even that some kind of cross between Interpol and Illegal Wiretaps. The key here is that, as with the darkwave on Side A, this just takes on a certain amount of darkness. It does end on a dreamgaze type of vibe but the darkness will still linger you nonetheless.
What you have to understand is that some people can spend their entire music careers- their entire lives- trying to weave melodies and other such sounds together to create something such as this, something that crosses genres but yet at the same time seems to really be the glue that holds them all together at the same time. Six years might seem like a long time but it's nothing compared to forever.
While I do feel as if someone was to try and create this cassette in the time it would take to make your average full length album (a year?) it would not come out nearly as well as this and feel rushed, but then I also think about some of these songs being finely crafted four or five years ago and words like "ahead of their time" come to mind.