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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Beechwood. Your new favourite band. (Joe Whyte)

Imagine if you will, three waifs from Queens who look as if they’d crawled out of the background of a scene in Coppola’s “Mean Streets” and who wouldn’t be fussed about either mugging you at knife point in a dark alley or alternatively taking you to the hippest, druggiest, supermodel-infested late night dive and keeping you out till you’d experienced a full-scale psychotic meltdown.

Add to that, two albums bursting with seedy, opiated, dirty rock a la Lou Reed or Patti Smith mixed with a pop sensibility that seems so ridiculously right and you have Beechwood, a band from NYC who genuinely would be in jail or dead if rock and roll hadn’t saved them from themselves.

Managed by Cynthia Ross, former B Girl, member of New York Junk, friend and confidante of Sid and Nancy, former partner of the late Stiv Bators and erstwhile heart and soul of the beating heart of NY rock, it’s fair to say they’re being guided by a hand that’s seen and experienced the pitfalls….

The debut album, “Songs From The Land Of Nod” came out last year and showcased the young trio’s tense, brittle and beautiful songs that are indebted to Television, Lou, Bowie and The Velvets and are as close a match to the heartbeat of the city that birthed them as the subway that dissects it.

This is a band that is the polar opposite of the mannered, manicured scuzz-lite of The Strokes; they genuinely need this as a route out of the hustling and criminality that they were involved in before. The songs very much reflect this; desperation, melancholy, loss and a laconic, deathly attitude that infuses them with a dark and powerful grace. Entwined among these are songs with a classic pop sensibility that have a bittersweet delicacy about them that totally enriches.

The new album (less than six months on from the debut) is “Inside The Flesh Hotel”- they’re both on Alive Natural Sounds- and is a step up from the debut in song quality. There is a real depth to the material that unravels and entrances on repeated listens. There’s a grubby glamour, a pallid and bloodless ache amid songs of loss and betrayal and joy and solace. It’s barely been off my turntable since it arrived.

They’re on tour in Europe as we speak; unfortunately there’s only the one UK date in London. Hopefully that’ll be corrected next time around.

Beechwood are;

Gordon Lawrence (guitar/vox),
Isa Tineo (drums/vox)
Sid Simons (bass/vox)

Joe Whyte

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