“What would Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys sound like if it was really loud and distorted?”. Beezewax’s lead singer and guitarist Kenneth Ishak ponders this very question, saying this was one of the dreams and inspirations behind the Norwegian quintet’s latest release.
Needless to say, perhaps, the result sounds nothing much like Brian Wilson’s magnum opus but the big mystery for me is how this band have reached album number seven without crossing my radar.
For make no mistake, they produce superbly constructed pop tunes – simple, striking but never superficial. They had me with the first bars of the opening tune - Everything Happened.
The jangley, occasionally soaring, guitars, tight harmonies, crisp melodies are used to great effect throughout the eight tracks. This includes the first two singles from the record - Closer (featuring Jon Auer of The Posies, and Sophia Pettit of Night Flowers) and Rainbows.
Ishak says that lyrically “You can find your own meaning” although he assures us that the events they sing about “are pretty real and very candid”.
Having a name that sounds like a cleaning product doesn’t do them any favours but, even so, when the music is this polished (excuse the pun) it transcends such details.
Ishak says: “We found that people really liked how our songs sound live: louder, and with a different energy” so they set out to make a record that recreates the energy of live performances.
The only pity is that it’s not longer. There’s just a little over 30 minutes of music so the extended jamming on the title track that closes the record leaves you wanting more. This track also illustrates that if the band could cut loose and allow themselves to be even freer you sense they could take things to an even higher level.