March 31, 2009

Beep Beep – Enchanted Islands

Beep Beep
Enchanted Islands
Saddle Creek; 2009

Guest Contributor: Marc Brubaker

Bands are often mislabeled, and part of that blame can be shed upon the music journalism community. When striving to describe new artists, terms like “unique” and “groundbreaking” are tossed around more frequently than kids are diagnosed with ADD. Beep Beep, Saddle Creek’s latest musical discovery from Omaha, might not be able to escape those two loaded words, yet they have fulfilled those very expressions on their new release, Enchanted Islands.

Describing this album is a daunting task, but if one could imagine Man Man, A Weather, The Cocteau Twins, and Of Montreal having an orgy in Back to the Future 3, the result would sound something like Enchanted Islands. It is a patchwork quilt stitched with garrote wire – frenetic, dangerous and foreign, yet with a soft sexiness constantly present. There is a significant amount of sound tangled together within these songs: breathy and restrained falsetto vocals, feverish and sharp guitar riffs, western twang, 80’s soft rock piano are prevalent throughout the album, and the occasional eastern scale and synthetic minimalist beats make appearances. It is the audio equivalent to MTV’s Aeon Flux cartoons – constantly unusual and shifting, but always captivating.

Hidden beneath the fantastic texture of the album is a series of unsettling beautiful love songs, painted with lyrics equally peculiar but intimate, such as the line “I floss my teeth with a strand of your hair,” from the song “Baby Shoes.” While the pacing of the songs ranges greatly – back to back tracks “Goodbye Sunshine” and “Wooden Nickels” move like a drunken Friday night spent party hopping and an ethereal plunge into Tori Amos’ brain with Charlie Parker in tow – Enchanted Islands certainly does not suffer because of it.

Beep Beep has assembled a true masterpiece – the dense intricacy of Enchanted Islands will not appeal to the majority of a populace that would rather gloss over it than spend the necessary time to decipher just how good the album is. It is a record for which many listeners are neither prepared nor ready to hear, but hopefully they will delve into its depths and discover the captivating fantasy world that awaits.

Marc Brubaker is a graduate of Texas A&M University; he currently works as a photographer, curator, and barista extraordinaire who occasionally uses his Creative Writing degree. You can find his work at Click. Wind. Repeat. or find him behind the counter of Taft Street Coffee in Houston, TX.

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