Home > Bargain > Beulah – The Coast Is Never Clear

Beulah – The Coast Is Never Clear

Velocette Records, 2001

When the price is right and the artwork doesn’t look terribly standoffish, one can really take a chance on anything. It also helps when a band qualifies at the lowest rung of recognition, like “I have vaguely heard of Beulah”. Since, indeed, I may have run across their name in passing reading some sort of blog late at night this was an affordable grab worth grabbin’. Whatever they sounded like, I knew that I could at least longingly gaze at the album cover during an inevitable winter episode here in New England. As long as that’s not the island from “Lost” (and that is not a sea of blood) I am so there when the sleet rolls in.

Extremely bright and poppy, Beulah’s third record is heavily construed as an optimistic venture. Depending on who you are, it might be too optimistic … if you cant believe that. “A Good Man is Easy to Kill” lays on a really peppy flute while the horns drive the bouncy tune along for four minutes.  It might give the impression that Beulah is trying much too hard to provoke a happy atmosphere and, if that’s not your thing, you could be turned off by it.  I think it’s the flute’s fault.

Second song aside, the album does grow on you.  It is upbeat and catchy but not enough to make you gag.  Picture the Dandy Warhols if they consistently delivered pop winners and you’d have Beulah.  By the time one gets to “Gravity’s Bringing Us Down (har har har! … okay, I added this)” one is fully in the throes of Beulah’s engaging sound.  On this track they actually get a little heavier than what has transpired previously, so it is conceivable that Beulah could have been a true rock band if they had wanted to.

The casual attitude that Beulah invokes with every song really settles in after awhile, and as each song strolls by one can find their stress ebb away.  For instance, even with the empowering horns and a nicely toned guitar solo, “Hey Brother” emits a sound that makes you think they’re playing music from their couches.  It’s a real kick-back kind of song, which helps soften any mood.  Along with a few more tunes in a similar vein, as well as a few pleasantly slower tunes to round out the pop bursts, it’s apparent to me that Beulah put together a really solid record.

Beulah has a few interesting sounds and interviews on their simply attractive website but also, of course, can be found on MySpace.

There is a place for Beulah in today’s music, which would be pop rock that doesn’t make you knaw on your fingers because it’s overproduced and in every damn commercial.  Unfortunately Beulah only made one other record before disbanding in 2004, so despite some critical success from their record output they weren’t able to keep it going.  Just as well … they’d have to battle with the evil Train for pop overload status, and I wouldn’t want to see them go that way.  For the time they were around, it’s nice to know that Beulah did manage to put together some very enjoyable pop music that still sounds pretty good after half a decade.

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