New Music From Beams

Posted on May 8, 2024
New Music From Beams

Beams is a psychedelic folk-rock band from Toronto. Pairing the stunning harmonization of female voices with the shimmering textures of Telecaster and vibraphone, they have been described by American Songwriter as “darkly spellbinding” and have been compared to artists ranging from Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush to Low and Fiver. The success of the band’s debut album Just Rivers (2013), produced by Peter J. Moore (Cowboy Junkies, The Sadies), helped the band break out of Canada and into the US market, where they have become an audience favorite. The band’s newest LP, Requiem for a Planet, was recorded by Kevin S. McMahon (Swans, Real Estate, Titus Andronicus) at Marcata Recording, a 200-year-old barn at the base of the Shawangunk mountains in New Paltz, New York. Described succinctly by the band as “a hike along Grief Mountain with scenic lookouts,” Requiem for a Planet stakes out new sonic territory for Beams.

Opening and closing the album with huge songs with multipart harmonies, spoken-word recitations, scorching guitar solos, and lyrics that size up the present moment’s reckoning of the personal past, a germinous quiet forms the dark heart of the album. Levitating vibraphone, warm purring amps, glinting guitars, and the strains of a ghostly violin weave a hypnotic sound-world that engenders a sense of hushed intimacy with the listener, something akin to that breathless, timeless moment before a first kiss. This is preparatory work for the album’s guiding principle, which is to make room for joy in music. The band’s Anna Mernieks states: “We have every right to be angry and sad. But this is our life. If we live in a constant state of reaction to all of the fear-mongering, then the powers that spread those messages around are winning. We have to fight and make spaces to feel joy and love and community. We have to fight isolation, fight being driven into despair.” The latter half of Requiem sees that fight happening, and a joyous call to arms swoons over the listener.

“Dusky, vaguely gothic… nonetheless infused with light.” – Exclaim!

“Mimics Grizzly Bear’s intricate guitar tapestries while also bringing to mind the slightly-fuller-than-full-band sound unique to Canadian indie supergroups…” – FLOOD Magazine

Recommended Tracks: Track 6, “A.W.I.L.,” Track 7, “Heat Potential,” Track 8, “It’s All Around You,” Track 3, “Make It Real”

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