Album review: Beachheads – Beachheads II

Power-pop Kvelertak side project Beachheads invite you on a cosmic caravan ride out of doomsville…

Album review: Beachheads – Beachheads II
James Mackinnon

Hell ain’t a bad place to be, as Bon Scott once noted, but a busman’s holiday to shorelines that aren’t eternally ablaze also sounds nice. Hence, while Kvelertak’s blackened party metal wagon rides the highway to Hell, members Vidar Landa (guitar) and Marvin Nygaard (bass) veer off a side road to jangly pop nirvana on the second release from their side project, Beachheads.

Chiming guitars, a buoyant bass groove and summery vocal harmonies set the vibe on Jupiter, recalling Kurt Cobain’s beloved indie supremos Teenage Fanclub, before a guitar solo as excitable as a Labrador bounds into the mix. It also helps that singer Børild Haughom sounds like a permanently chilled out Liam Gallagher, bringing you along on Down South’s city escape with easy charm. ‘Journey round and round, pretty little seaport towns,’ he croons in dazed harmony alongside folky Anne Lise Frøkedal. Meanwhile, twinkling xylophone and moseying acoustic strumming transport the sunbaked cool of Australian indie rock to coastal Norway.

So optimistic and sweeping are these tunes that, on first listen, it is easy to breeze over Børild’s occasionally heavyweight lyrics. ‘It scares me every day, it’s out of my control / This so-called afterlife and what happens to us all,’ he blithely sings to a loved one on Live And Let Live, all the while a fluttering guitar lick sounds like a bluebird about to land (or shit) on his shoulder. On the nerve-jangling Death Of A Nation, he decries ‘fascism for everybody’ and longs to ‘join the caravan en route to outer space’. Erm, any spare seats, mate?

While some might consider Beachheads II a throwback to Gen X slackerdom, it’s a welcome and hummable distraction from modern stresses. Ideal listening for sitting back in the deck chair of the mind and watching the boiling waves roll by.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Spielbergs, The Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr.

Beacheads II is released on March 4 via Fysisk Format

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