REVIEW: Beat Connection ’The Palace Garden’
Here in Seattle it may rain a lot of the time. It may be grey well into the Summer. The overwhelming effect of the meteorological misfortune is a weight that even the brightest folks cannot ignore. Each year the sunshine promised by Spring teasers, although delayed in arrival, bursts through the ceiling fog like a miracle to the rebellion. The warmth makes you want to run, to hike, to sail, and to climb; this is the drenched pop dream of Beat Connection. While not amongst the typically featured genres of music on LC, it is a rare and honored occasion to review an album produced in our local climate and by artists whom we have had the distinct pleasure of being acquainted with.
The Palace Garden plunges the bands sound even deeper into the sunlit bathed shallows, an oxymoronic feat resulting in greater refinement and boundless energy. Straying from the recent grab bag genre of “chillwave” and treading into the kind of seriously danceable pop that is normally heard out of Sweden or France, these dedicated young musicians have seemed to produce a crayola masterpiece (complete with electric fish, sonic coral reefs, and underwater sailboats). This is a guilt-free dream. On the third track, “Saola,” a recurring theme is exclaimed: “Well hey! I guess that’s life! You can’t pick up the pieces that you don’t like!” The rest of the album follows in the wake of this epiphany, often joyous and lighthearted, but at times like walking through the city waterfront while a warm grey cloud hides the sun. The instrumentation and the drumming stick together tightly like water molecules in a building wave, and the occasional breaking of one is enhanced by the simultaneous and polyphonous crash of surrounding waves.
Perhaps I am still affected by the infectious “In the Water” off of last year’s ‘Surf Noir’, but ‘The Palace Garden’ reaches even larger bodies of precious blue gold. Interludes such as “Oeuvreboard” and “Foreign Embassy” provide thoughtful moments to breach the surface for air, while carved main tracks such as “Invisible Cities” and “Further Out” manage to play as self-contained images of the album’s greater picture. These songs contribute to the album’s story, but are indeed stories themselves. Touching on issues of modern city life, ephemerality, and the kind of Carpe Diem enthusiasm you would find in a California tourist advertisement, this album actually embraces the present with thoughtful positivity.
The band was founded by Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger in 2008, and then later drummer, Jarred Katz and guitarist/vocalist, Tom Eddy were added. The interplay between the synth washes, the sonar bass riffs, and the succinct percussion comes through exemplary on “Think Feel,” which features the dreamy guest vocals of Chelsey Scheffe. Beat Connection has proved they can move audiences, but now it seems like they can transport listeners as well. For after days and weeks of rain, the sunshine feels like the bursting propulsion of positive cosmic rays, with only the seaborne wind spraying foam from one thousand churning currents of to cool you off. It is like a condensed packet of life, translatable only into dance and happiness.
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