BEAK> – >>
BEAK> could be considered something of a self-indulgent side project for Portishead's Geoff Barrow; a jam-band for a frustrated krautrock afficionado to mess about with while his successful main project is on hiatus. Fortunately, this is far from true. From the creeping, understated atmospherics of opener The Gaol, the trio grip the listener by the hindbrain and refuse to let go.
There's more than a hint of Can in the guitar playing on tracks like Spinning Top, but the half-heard, pedal-processed vocals owe more to stoner rock while the steady pulse of analogue synths beneath tracks like Yatton and Ladies Mile bear the telltale signs of influence from Barrow's recent DROKK project.
The band build up a real head of steam on tracks like Wulfstan II, throwing in throbbing traces of psych-rock, smouldering proto-industrial drums and fuzzed-out, echoing vocal harmonies. Closer Kidney sounds like early Pixies, with a thunderous, feedback-drenched climax. Throughout, BEAK> sound more like a proper band on >> than they did on their debut – there is a deceptively loose, tightly controlled flow to each track, and they never get lost in willfully abstract noise.