Those who are still mourning the demise of James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem, dry your eyes and listen up – there might be a new band in town who you will grow to love just as much. Possibly named after one of Murphy’s songs, Beat Connection might not share his mixture of abandon and neurosis but have produced a record is so slick, so accomplished, and so of our time that it could only have been made by a bunch of super-young, voracious music fans – exactly the kind of dudes Murphy has stepped aside for.
Beat Connection are not the Norfolk wedding band that comes up first when you google them, but a quintet from Seattle, Washington. Their sound is not informed by their hometown’s plaid shirt heritage, but by the blogs and internet hype bands that have revamped the music industry in the last few years. There is a hint of El Guincho in the percussion, some of Yeasayer’s take on barely-remembered 80s pop, and Pears‘ ear for the space between the soft-as-silk synths.
It’s probably fair to say that while there is a distinct surfer vibe going on on this debut EP, there isn’t a lot in the way of noir – ‘Sunburn’ is a meditation of a track, with slinky guitars interlocking over a muffled beat. The crash of waves in the background leads into ‘In the Water’, which ironically features a dry, pounding beat and singer Tom Eddy doing an Ed Macfarlane: playful falsetto vocals bordering on but never venturing into camp territory.
The 32-minute EP’s songs flow in and out of each other like the surf in a hole in the sand, but the two cornerstones are ‘Theme From Yours Truly’ and the blog hit ‘Silver Screen’. The former is a balearic instrumental based on a four-to-the-floor house beat that somehow preserves a sense of melancholy. The latter is proof that, for all Beat Connection’s knowledge in the fields of modern production techniques and avantgarde composition, they also have a way with a hook. And boy, does ‘Silver Screen’ have hooks – hummed ones, sung ones, and some that sound like they come out of a panpipe.
If you do manage to spend a few days at a beach this year – any beach at all, really – make sure you take this record with you. Your holiday will improve tenfold.