Bobby’s Beard (Ingue) – Dreamy lo-fi dreamy drifting dreamy pop. Whispered and dreamy and breezy and all home-made silky sunshine and glowing drifting beauty and lo-fi home-made slowly drifting dreamy dreamy poppy breezy dreaminess from the sunny fields of Somerset. Dreamy lo-fi simplicity...
Live Music Scene
Seeing as this album was, and I quote, ‘Created in the depths of Somerset’, I find myself wondering if I am about to be treated to the previously undiscovered magic of Exmoor acid-folk or Quantock-hop? What’s more, I know a man who goes by the name of Bobby on occasion and has a beard that possesses more creative flair than most ordinary mortals have in their entire bodies. It turns out that Bobby’s Beard is a name I’m most delighted I came across and one that I expect to be hearing more often in the future. There’s definitely something about the Beach Boys here – music that manages to sound other worldly and accessible at the same time, and those harmonies appear in all the right places. The overall feeling I gain from this album is someone who has taken elements of a number of bands I enjoy and created an overall sound that can’t fail to drown out the day’s concerns.
I know not the name of the tracks, and by all accounts it was a conscious decision to leave off the tracklisting, but this doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s best just to enjoy music for what it is, without having to put a name to the songs. At times there is a hint of the experimentation of Animal Collective or Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd, but in terms of the atmosphere I was thinking more of the shoegaze era. I have to say that quite a number of these songs mention the summer sun, or something similar, and as lovely as it is I couldn’t help wondering if this was due to a lack of lyrical inspiration. Another reason I was able to restrain myself from gushing praise overload when writing this review was that on first listen there aren’t any hugely memorable tunes. Of course in itself this is not a bad thing if it’s still an enjoyable listen, which ‘Bobby’s Beard’ most definitely is, with hundreds and thousands on top.
One of my favourite tracks is an instrumental that brings to mind Air’s massively underrated second album in flavour but a futuristic dub bassline bubbles underneath the surface and adds a degree of tension that changes the whole mood. The final track continues in the peculiar vain and is comprised of heavily treated beats, a weather forecast sample and a lethargic keyboard melody. That word ‘sunshine’ is mentioned once again but I think it can be forgiven. Everything I’ve heard here makes me believe that there’s a whole lot of interesting music lurking away in deepest, darkest Somerset just waiting to be discovered. It’s no coincidence that most artists who emerge from Iceland appear to have a wonderfully quirky approach to making music. All places have their own atmosphere but I’ve always felt that there is something about the depths of Somerset that is conducive to creativity. Bobby’s Beard is a good place to start if you wish to find out for yourself.
By Dave Urwin
Wonderful wooden reasons
With the exception of the fact that they’re from Somerset (or at least that’s where they recorded the album) the truly appallingly named Bobbys Beard (the punctuation error is theirs) are an enigma to me. It’s on Ingue Records though which means it’s well worth a listen so here goes.
The music is a chilled and whimsical slice of psychedelia. I can spot a variety of influences hiding amongst BB’s songs. The whole thing has a pronounced Beach Boys-esque feel to it, the vocal style has been liberated from the Stone Roses or the Inspiral Carpets and there’s a real Angelo Badalamenti vibe to some of the tracks.
The production is pretty lo-fi which works to their advantage and the songs are pretty good. It’s pop music though and good pop always lives or dies on the quality of it’s hooks and they’re, for the most part, missing here. I love that they’re more than willing to throw a shot of anarchy into the proceedings and it’s a good listen but it desperately needs those hooks that will raise it up to the next level.
Bobbys Beard / Ingue Records didn’t send any imagery or artwork with this CD, instead inviting the reviewer to request it via email; a little stingy and a somewhat cavalier approach to courting a music hack for a sympathetic appraisal. They also sent no track listing. Fortunately, this self-titled album recorded in the depths of Somerset is a fine debut, and largely speaks for itself. Beautiful vocal harmonies awash in a sylvan, psychedelic haze of reverb; guitars phasing in and out, promising, retreating, re-emerging and gently delivering. The drums are buried so far back in the mix they sound like they were recorded in a neighbouring field. Lovely stuff but, with little variation in the songs, it could comfortable be trimmed down to an EP. In a land where the sun always shines and the seasons never turn, the harvest will never come.