Click to hear: “Whispering Poison in His Ear”
Jeff Beam’s 2011 album, Venus Flying Trapeze, borrowed a bit too heavily from The Beatles. His latest, Be Your Own Mirror, owes a lot to Pink Floyd, but as influences go, one could certainly do worse.
The first song, “Whispering Poison in His Ear,” is basically Floyd’s “Fearless” with a drum track. Again, not bad to listen to, but nothing new. The next, “Hospital Patience,” suffers from indistinct vocals, a flaw that diminishes a few other song here, too. But it’s the music, not the words, that draws you into these compositions and makes them worth experiencing.
Beam handles most of the instruments, augmented by his buddy Henry Jamison (of The Milkman’s Union; Beam plays bass in that band) on viola, the artful sound collages of Tanner Smith, and a smattering of other players. The songs were recorded all over the place — Maine, New York Vermont — while Beam was on tour last year.
The pop chorus of “Now” lifts it out of its psychedelic haze. “Existentially Speaking” has some rock to it, though the recording is too thin to do it justice. The great bass line on “Congratulations on Your Latest Achievement” stands out at first, but as the song progresses and Beam layers on the vocals and noise, you realize how closely he’s aping Roger Waters.
So once again I’ll end a Beam review by giving him credit for talent and wishing his music was more original. Time to go dust off my copy of Meddle and hear the real deal.
— Chris Busby
Foam Castles and Jeff Beam play a show organized by Hilly Town, with the band Higgins, on Thurs., May 3, at Empire Dine and Dance, at 9 p.m. Tix: $6 (21+). You can hear the entire album at jeffbeam.bandcamp.com.