It’s been five years since Beaches released their debut record. Yet the follow-up, She Beats, is defined by a crackling synergy, as though the Melbourne band’s three guitars crept off and kept jamming through the hiatus. Were a guitar to develop sentience, what would it do? Indulge in the wah and the whammy bar and bathe itself in feedback – which is what happens here.
If that sounds cock-rock-y, be assured Beaches still eschew over-obvious riffs and hooks for a marbled wash of textures, tones and layers. The vocal harmonies and noise-pop vibe evoke female-fronted ’90s shoegazers Lush and Pale Saints as well as contemporaries the Vivian Girls. But beneath the shoegaze veneer there’s the smouldering surf guitar of ‘Keep on Breaking’, the Velvet Underground jangle of ‘Veda’ and the perfect storm of ‘Granite Snake’, where billowing clouds of feedback are anchored by a doggedly insistent bass.
Best of all, you can sing along or bliss out, eyes closed, as both listening states are well-serviced.