Saturday, May 17, 2008


I must admit, Beulah is most likely the closest thing I have ever had to a favorite band, though even that title I wouldn't grant them fully. However, I do know I enjoy everything done by these gentlemen. The San Franciscan group was part of the Elephant 6 collective, but only by the virtue that Robert Schneider (of Apples in Stereo, Ulysses, etc.) recorded their early material including their first album, Handsome Western States. Once Elephant 6, forever so is the rules the game though. Handsome Western States is a delightful album, for all its roughness and somewhat lacking nature when compared to the band's later attempts.
The second release, When Your Heartstrings Break, is truly incredible with the addition of horns and strings, more liberal use of piano, and more developed lyrics. I to this day frequently find reason to listen to the entire album through, which is never a disappointment. Even so, the final track "If We Can Land on the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart" will hold a special place for me. The fact that much Beulah's music is upbeat but has less-than-joyful lyrics has been said to be a manifest of founding member and singer Miles Kurosky's bipolar disorder.
Next was The Coast Is Never Clear, which is disputably their best album. The opener "Hello Resolven" has temped me to still a child just to name it that and then return it to a life surely full of glory. Perhaps the most stand out tracks of the band's carry can be heard to with "A Good Man Is Easy to Kill" "Silver Lining" and the single "Popular Mechanics for Lovers"(and for non-Magnetic Fields fans, has a jesting reference to Stephin Merritt). Personally, as time as passed, I find the melodic lyrics and sounding horns of "I'll Be Your Lampshade" be very laudable in their own right.
The final album before the band's break up in 2004 was Yoko. When this shit was made, nearly everyone in the band had a bunch in their panties to has the least. Kurosky broke with his girlfriend and three others was amid divorces. Thus this is the most gloomy sounding release the band would ever make. The music is still excellently composed nonetheless, with brilliant tracks like "Landslide Baby" and "My Side Of The City" to be heard here. The sadden tone of the band can be felt in even the naming of other songs, like "Me And Jesus Don't Talk Anymore" and "Don't Forget To Breathe." Yet, something remarkable, even when singing about shitty girlfriends or anything else that would make a band into something depressingly emotional or terrible at trying to be so, Beulah never fell victim to such mistakes. The songs possess a cheerfulness straight through the depression and the lyrics are proudly sung with beauty. Overall, an incredible career for an indie pop band, producing four wonderful albums, a feat many couldn't dream to achieve. Although I'm weary to proclaim favorites, I will never tired of listening to them.

To be had here:

Handsome Western States (1997)

The Coast Is Never Clear (2001)

Yoko (2003)

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