Beat Rhythm Fashion: Tenterhook (Failsafe/digital outlets)

 |   |  2 min read

Optimism
Beat Rhythm Fashion: Tenterhook (Failsafe/digital outlets)

To be honest, I can't say I ever saw Wellington's late Seventies/early Eighties band Beat Rhythm Fashion . . . and until now maybe not even much, if anything, of their music, other than perhaps in passing on bFM.

They were however a band – just three singles – many of us in Auckland were “aware” of.

Ever since the seven year gap between a couple of Blue Nile albums in the Eighties we've become used to long delays between releases, but for BRF to wait 35 years to get together and record this impressive retro-shoegaze/pop-rock outing seems extremely tardy.

Held up in traffic, probably.

But here over 12 songs they deliver material which marries chiming pop guitars (Property, the widescreen Drive Now) with downplayed ballads (Fake Peace), melodic post-punk and memorable songs. It's interesting to note the few comments on You Tube for the Cure-adjacent single Hard as Hell (below) which immediately went top three on student radio charts: the word “lovely” appears twice . . . and it's true.

There is a dreamlike quality at work from singer/guitarist founder Nino Birch, singer/drummer Caroline Easther (BRF, Chills, Let's Planet, Verlaines) and bassist Rob Mayes (Throw, Dolphin and Failsafe Records mainman).

At times they evoke the best of the more romantic side of the Cure or British drone-pop but when Birch adds a spoken word section to the terrific Optimism you'd swear it was Paul Kelly casually asking if you had a match. (Birch has lived in Australia in '82 which might explain the languid delivery in places, as in the verses of Eulogy which swells in the bridge to become almost heroic.)

Dan is a farewell tribute to Nino's late brother and co-founder of BRF. 

A number of songs here engage by their lyrical subtlety (the surreptitious Freezing Mr Precedent might take some decoding but gets under the skin and consciousness) and if much of this sounds like it is a continuum from the sound of the early Eighties, then so be it.

Elsewhere has noted previously the welcome return of melodic shoegaze in recent years and you'd like to think with this collection – which makes some pointed social observations (Chrysalis Ones) – the repurposed Beat Rhythm Fashion would ride the wave.

On the many strengths of this collection they deserve to be taken seriously.

(Incidentally, at a time when so many people just stream music this CD in a gatefold sleeve with a booklet of lyrics and art reminds you why the disc format is so much more rewarding on an aesthetic level. See below.)

BEAT RHYTHM FASHION TOUR

Sat March 9 Blue Smoke, Christchurch

Sun March 10 The Cook, Dunedin
Thur March 14 Whammy Bar, Auckland
Sat March 16 Meow, Wellington

beat_copy


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Bettye LaVette and Drive-By Truckers: The Scene of the Crime (Anti) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Bettye LaVette and Drive-By Truckers: The Scene of the Crime (Anti) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

This is an unexpected pairing: soul-singer LaVette with alt-country rockers Drive-By Truckers recording in Muscle Shoals in Alabama. A marriage made in heaven (or a somewhat hotter place) as it... > Read more

North Mississippi Allstars: Hernando (Songs of the South)

North Mississippi Allstars: Hernando (Songs of the South)

These Allstars aren't really, but two of them are the sons of the great James Luther Dickinson whose last album was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2007: a swirling implosion of country, psychedelic... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various Artists: Musical Explorer Series; Deben Bhattacharya, Waves of Joy (ARC Music CD/DVD)

Various Artists: Musical Explorer Series; Deben Bhattacharya, Waves of Joy (ARC Music CD/DVD)

Elsewhere has happily been down this path previously but we acknowledge these Indian music collections of field recordings with an archival film are not for everybody. As we mentioned before,... > Read more

TELEVISION PERSONALITIES CONSIDERED (2019): They could have bigger than . . .

TELEVISION PERSONALITIES CONSIDERED (2019): They could have bigger than . . .

Give the English credit, they do eccentricity and whimsy better than anyone. And when it enters popular music – the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, the Soft Boys,... > Read more