REVIEW: Black Beach – ‘Play Loud, Die Vol. 1’

Artist: Black Beach
Album: Play Loud, Die Vol. 1
Genre: Rock

I’m not entirely sure if I should be mad when listening to Massachusetts’ Black Beach, or somewhere between anger and serenity. See, Black Beach is a band that trucks their sound through the mud, funneled through distortion, static, anger, sludge, whatever. You name it, it’s there. But what holds all these tones together are melodies that flow beautifully with one another, creating a perfect balance of disgusting and peace. With bass lines flowing in between guitars drowned in their own reverb, drums pounding in the background, and vocals that fit somewhere between a screech and an epiphany, Black Beach paint a beautifully confusing picture of sonic expression.

With the four-track EP, Play Loud, Die Vol. 1, the band exerts their presence as something of a mutated brain child of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, and many other sounds caught in between. With Dinosaur like riffs, simple and purposeful, blended with the tonality of Sonic Youth, the EP creates a blended smoothie of punk, angst, expression, creativity, and rebellion.

Opening with “Rats,” Play Loud, Die Vol. 1 begins quickly, and with all the aforementioned aspects rocketed in. With a lead riff bringing the entire track in together, and vocals that sound screamed from a basement coupled with empty beer bottles and string lights slowly fluttering out, “Rats” demands for the dark to be let in.

Followed by “Born to Lose,” the band continues with their craft, giving the listeners a realization that Black Beach know what they are doing. With a bass and guitar fill that will stay in your head as the dazed atmosphere of the track continues, let the band bring you deep into the basement where you first heard “Rats.”

“I Don’t Know,” a personal favorite from the EP, opens with a J Mascis inspired riff turned all the way up. Before you know it, you are already headbanging in the basement Black Beach want you to delve into. Presenting some vocal differences, “I Don’t Know” is a welcomed investigation that gives the listener an appetite for what the band can do next.

Ending with the psuedo-Jazzed “You’re a Ghost,” Black Beach end their most recent EP with a swell groove. Keeping together everything the band has done before, Play Loud, Die Vol. 1 ends on a high note.

While Vol. 1 isn’t anything groundbreaking by any means, Black Beach know what they are doing. And as a relatively young band, as a listener, this makes me all the more excited for what is next. Influences are clearly heard and re-performed, but that is overshadowed by the fact that this EP is just fucking fun. So go down into that basement, grab a tall boy, and bang your head.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Drew Caruso — Follow him on Twitter

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Drew Caruso
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