While it’s undeniable that Kvelertak – in amongst their mad melding of genres – have a clear pop sensibility, Beachheads take this to a new level. The side-project, featuring guitarist and bassist Vidar Landa and Marvin Nygaard, is rooted in ‘70s and ’80s power pop and early pop-punk, with little deviation from this base.
Beachheads’ self-titled debut could be criticised on several levels: it’s derivative and many of the tracks sound similar to one another. However, the band play with so much energy and heart that it’s impossible not to enjoy it.
The album is chock full of lovely vocal melodies (‘Moment of Truth’), simple but effective riffs (‘Reverberations’), strong hooks and warm, jangly guitars (‘Your Highness’).
By far and away the highlight of the record is ‘Give Me Some Love’, which combines all of these elements to create what might just be 2017’s most well written and structured pop song. The verses ease into a subtle pre-chorus, that gives way to a heartfelt refrain of “I’ll come running back to you”. The outro sees this line sung repeatedly, by which time the somewhat clichéd lyric has gained actual emotional traction.
Later tracks like ‘Procession’, with its sombre nature, morbid lyrical content and well-implemented piano and ‘Addiction Not Love’, with its off-kilter guitar and vocal work, keep things fresh by deviating slightly from the MO Beachheads establish early on.
For all its positives, ‘Beachheads’ suffers from a couple of forgettable cuts (‘Break Me Down’ and ‘Monologues’) and, while ‘It Feels Alright’ is enjoyable, it doesn’t quite work as a closer.
While there is some enjoyment to be found here for fans of the genre, anyone familiar with the discographies of Big Star or The Buzzcocks will have heard it this all before. That said, anyone not expecting anything too radical or world-changing should be pleasantly surprised by the quality of ‘Beachheads’ songwriting.
‘Beachheads’ by Beachheads is released on 3rd February on Fysisk Format.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)