My first introduction to Bihari Beach was via the brief three song ‘Little Fort EP’. It combined heroically lo-fi rock with a youthful penchant for lewdness in the song titles. Yet whether by luck or judgement, it sounded raw and alive. As an EP title of ‘Eurowanker’ might testify, similar levels of lewdness remain on their follow-up but there’s also a real growth and maturity in the musicianship too.
‘Is Lemons’ begins the frenetic action with the song distinguished by Eric Reyes’ reliably slurred vocals but the combination of his murmurings with the intense framework of guitars, bass and drums is like listening to Julian Casablancas fronting early Joy Division. ‘Graduation’ builds up like it wants to be an anthem but pulls its punches somewhat when Reyes remembers he’s the vocalist in a basement-based indie band rather than Nirvana. Nevertheless, it’s a fine song which emphasises their improvement on the arrangement side; the lo-fi production sounds so close, it gives the impression of the cymbals crashing and bass thundering directly into your eardrums.
Elsewhere, ‘Yellow Melody’ stops short of chaos thanks to Jose Catalan’s sterling stint on guitar and that reference to The Strokes rears its head again on the full throttle ‘The Party, After You Left’ but this is clearly a band in love with making music which is hook-filled and thrilling on its own terms. The EP ends, appropriately enough, with ‘Friends Series Finale’; taking a more introspective slant with the musicians slowing things down to deliver a vulnerable, teary-eyed closer with arguably their most vital chorus. It actually sounds like a drunken, beaten-up version of Ambulance Ltd.’s ‘Stay Where You Are’.
With ‘Eurowanker’, Bihari Beach have found the (if you’ll forgive the pun) pulling power to entice new listeners in. The trio have stepped up their standards to deliver a set of songs which accelerates the transition from youthful pretenders to garage rock giants. Keep watching the show, this could get exciting.
Bihari Beach Bandcamp
The Strokes, Pavement