Horseneck Beach is so strangely, yet perfectly titled. In terms of pure topical values—lyrical content, titles—each song makes no explicit mention of that stretch of coastline in southeastern Massachusetts. Nonetheless, there is something vaguely travelogue-ish on Alto Jeffro’s EP.
Part of the reason for that journal-entry feel to this collection of tunes may be the rapid pace at which Jeffro produces his work. In just four months, his output included Horseneck Beach, Hilarious Songs for Idiots, and most recently the Carbone Monoxide EP. These productions show the various facets of the artist—a sort of wry, inward humor; a tangible sound culled from the raw feeling of a knowing smile.
Jeffro brings you into the world of Horseneck Beach with a minute and a half of building ambient noise, a blur of muffled sound that both invites and forbids. It’s a recurring theme: there is something there in the background, a puzzle that can be deciphered when the listener orients themself to the direction that the songs are going in.
Over the course of the EP, the various arrangements of harmonica, drum machines, and overdriven guitars layer over one another, painting unusual sound collages. The song “Chaser” features what sounds like a melodica being played in a wagon that’s being pulled down a gravel road at an uncomfortable speed.
Elsewhere, with “Cliff Richard Blues,” the tune finally arrives at a place where the only logical conclusion is to position the ebb and flow of the bassline against the thumping of drums which have, one realizes, been there all along. The result is a sort of polyrhythmic effect that could almost be described as “anti-rhythm.”
Horseneck Beach is an accomplishment in a number of ways, a sort of reflecting pool in a twisted wood somewhere south of the city. It is both a journey in and of itself and a document of the trip.