Black Beach — Self Portrait


History matters to Black Beach. Looking forward and back, the band covers all bases in the garage rock game, and their latest nugget is no exception. You can hear a bit of each decade from the last forty years represented in Self Portrait which is just a little teaser of the new LP they are already hard at work on. Shallow Creatures is slated for release sometime early next year so this will have to tide you over till then.

The track’s percussion-heavy, chunky intro lays a dense, Sabbath-style riff over lead singer/guitarist Steven Instasi’s instantly recognizable nasally squeal. You just can’t help it, your head starts to bob almost instantly. ’60s garage is an obvious comparison and forms the foundation of Black Beach’s fuzzy punk jams, but the band elevates things further, incorporating the attitudes and stripped down sincerity of the ’90s underground alongside a raging guitar solo at the 45-minute mark which will no doubt make Hendrix smile in his grave. Bassist Ben Semeta is ever-present, particularly as the song slows down towards the end and brings things back to the heavy, metallic sound of the beginning with more focus on Ryan Nicholson’s earthquake-inducing work behind the kit. Cymbals explode and help close out the track with Instasi’s guitar winding things down to a fadeaway finish. From beginning to end, you’re both energized and calmed . . . the yin and yang that keeps you entranced. You just have to hear it again, and again, and again.

The album, which was tracked with the help of Converse Rubber Tracks at Q Division is just the latest of a slew of releases that have pushed Black Beach to the forefront of the Boston garage scene. Evidenced by Semeta’s recent announcement of the House of the Rising Fuzz Boston Rock Compilation, the band clearly has an eye on the future as well as the past. Look for the comp and the band this coming Saturday at Boston’s annual Fuzzstival—Black Beach play on day three, ready to round out the gathering of some of the city’s best garage, rock, punk, and surf acts. Please enjoy “Self Portrait,” now ready for consumption on their Bandcamp as the three-day fest rapidly approaches.

While not being afraid to push the boundaries, perhaps the greatest thing about Black Beach is that you know what you’re getting. Their gritty sincerity makes it perfectly clear that rock and roll is not only alive and well, but thriving here in Boston.

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