Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beeps - Gamma Gamma Rays


Gamma Gamma Rays
Hot Money Records.

SCQ Rating: 76%

Having a song entitled ‘Focus’ doesn’t immediately say a lot about your band’s sound but, when that track starts like a grounded Get Up Kids and finishes like a devil-may-care Pavement, it does inform listeners as to the irony and energy percolating beneath the surface of this Halifax outfit. Whether Gamma Gamma Rays are cresting on detuned guitar jams or surveying intricate arrangements, new flourishes threaten their course at every heartbeat. Bearing curves that feel more like detours than flat-out U-turns, the eleven songs that constitute Beeps swarm with countless ideas but make sure to execute at least several to their full potential. Dizzying as this may initially sound, our failed attempts at pinning Gamma Gamma Rays down ends up being half the fun of courting Beeps.

Let me backtrack a moment; yes, this quintet packs songs as if they’re piñatas loaded with name-brand candy and frilly trimmings, but that chaos never overwhelms. Nor does it take precedence over clever songwriting; the spiky rush of ‘Banks’ connects the missing link between euphoric post-punk and orchestral pop (what with its lovely piano cascades) whereas ‘Blame’ savours a moment’s stillness before delving into scrappy indie-rock. Beeps’ glowing variety in part stems from influences, at different points finding the band cozying up to Modest Mouse (on ‘Growth and Health’) and Conor Oberst’s voice-shredding side-project Desaparecidos. Above those superficial parallels, Gamma Gamma Rays’ sound attracts because its clattering orchestration never relies on easy mood-setting effects that many pop acts utilize. Even the few tracks (‘Great Sons’, for example) that get overshadowed by their more melodic counterpoints display genuine, nearly-made-it potential. Truly indie-rock in its innovative and hands-on approach, Beeps deserves its jovial outlook, stitched of DIY charms and tiny triumphs.

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