REVIEW: Accomplished debut displays Beachmaster's rocky side

Beachmaster - Strength In Numbness
Beachmaster - Strength In Numbness

BEACHMASTER have taken their time to reach their debut album, but four years in it feels like they've settled into an identity that fits.

Their folk rock influences are no longer obvious, with the record dominated by an alternative rock, indie-punk sound - alt-punk, if you like - in a similar vein to pioneers of the genre, The Gaslight Anthem and Hot Water Music.

With its rasping, earthy vocals, Strength In Numbness' opener Titanic could pass for being either of those two bands. A vigorous and rousing rocker to get things off, it was the natural choice for the first single and is one of the stand-outs of the 10 tracks here.

The Penrith outfit are in their element on the most raucous and heavier songs such as Sole Eater and Bloody Mary, which encapsulate the energy of the album.

That said, there's melodic moments by the bucket-load; the shimmering guitars of Living The Dream, the sing-along qualities of Wreckhead – the catchiest number by some distance - it all adds to the dynamic that makes it a highly-listenable affair.

The acoustic-driven shortest track Steal All the Chemicals ensures Beachmaster's folk rock roots aren't forgotten completely, but for the most part, the focus is firmly on fuzzy guitars and driving rhythms.

A Song Not Even a Mother Could Love is the not-entirely-accurate title of the seven-minute penultimate number, which could well be two tracks in one; a slow-building first-half giving way to a bouncy, hook-laden second-half.

Cue The Rain begins like it might be a typical 'closing song' ballad, but it turns out to be an upbeat and up-tempo flourish to the finish.

It's as accomplished as you would expect from an already well-established band, and on their first full-length effort, Beachmaster have displayed the many strings to their bow without jumping from one genre to the next.

Review by KARL STEEL

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