Beep Beep‘s previous album, Business Casual could only be described as manically sexy mayhem and so with a new release Enchanted Islands, the vibes received from such a title felt a lot more mystical than ahem, stimulating.
Alas, albums cannot be judged on titles alone. I See You! opens and the track is simple yet intimidating, the adopted falsetto being a reminder of an almost Pied Piper persona. This falsetto is carried onto Mermaid Struggle and while instrumentally Beep Beep retains their hectic style, it completely juxtaposes with the ethereal vocals leaving the listener slightly confused yet entirely entranced.
Secrets for the Well switches styles and the singer reverts back to what is a typically Saddle Creek-style, almost whispering. The lyrics are nicely laden with bathos, ‘People told me since I was young / that I could be anything I want / Then I proved them all wrong’ and there is nothing more fun than a bit of self-deprecation. Return to Me is similar in it’s approach yet is more of a ‘wrong’ love song. Admittedly, I found the lyrics a little difficult to decipher but it is definitely a memorable track.
The Whispering Waves is unexpectedly rougher than the previous song but the softer voice is still there. The balance of quiet vocals and loud instruments is an interesting technique and a pretty good way to make you turn up the speakers. Crafty.
Next is The Lion’s Mouthwhich is slower and more focused on the lyrics, a sad narrative involving a child struggling with his home life. Upon the third listening of this song, I actually felt the need to jump into the song and rescue the poor kid. Thankfully, Goodbye Sunshine is more upbeat. Ish.
Wooden Nickels has two separate voices, standing out vivaciously compared to the last few tracks. It builds up monumentally, reminding me of those speeded up videos of skyscrapers being built (but that’s my imagination being carried away). An amazing song and a highlight of the album.
Seppuku has a similar intro to (sigh) Fleet Foxes, blessfully taken over by an explosion of noisy guitars and drums. It intensifies in all aspects, calms, intensifies again and then we’re sung back to tranquillity. Wow.
I Miss You is a so-so track, almost a filler next to Mortal Warrior which is funky enough to make me dance in a foolish manner in my chair. While the vocals are reminiscent of previous Saddle Creek artists, it’s originality is there and unafraid to flaunt it. Loving the guitars on this one.
Baby Shoes returns back to the lulling state found at the beginning of the album, proving a nice unwinder to prepare you for Two-Spirit which is compelling in the striking vocals.
And so the album ends with Only See Me and it feels threatening in its serenity, ‘No matter where you are / I’ll always drag you down’, ending on the same tone it started with: sinister.
Enchanted Islands seems such an advancement from Beep Beep’s prior style and appears far more developed in its format. The album shows that Beep Beep still keeps to their sensual yet berserk roots but nevertheless uses this as a basis for contemporary styles with a new found control.