With Kvelertak so entrenched in the rock and metal scenes of their native Norway, and indeed further afield, it’s easy to overlook the inherent melody behind their weighty riffs. With that in mind, that two members should conceive and eventually form a side project in which fizzy, pop melodies were intrinsic, isn’t all that surprising.
While Beachheads’ debut might not harbour the same immediacy as similar bands, its appeal is somewhat more gradual. And though cursory listens suggest the record to be little more than indie-pop ephemera, pleasant at the time but ultimately unmemorable, dig beneath its glossy pop façade, and there’s a deeper, heavier narrative than one might otherwise assume.
Death is never easy, and people deal with grief in different ways. For Beachheads’ frontman Børild, the death of his father, and the tumult of emotions that inevitably brings, was channelled in to his songwriting — resulting in reams of lyrics that went on to form the lyrical backbone of much of the record. It’s these tracks, and indeed the raw emotions expressed in them by Børild, that allow the record to rise above the malaise inspired by generic indie-pop.
Tracks such as ‘Moment of Truth’, ‘Procession’ or ‘Treasure Chest’ all offer an insight in to the various events and emotions that surround such an event. And though some of the lyrics do feel a little on the nose at times, they’re genuinely heartfelt and at times, genuinely heart-breaking. And while the lyrics may be somewhat simplistic, it’s often these that are the most affecting.
Rather than take ‘Beachheads’ on face value, it’s a record that warrants sticking with. Arguably at its strongest on repeat listens, the genuine emotions expressed across the course of the record leave listeners with almost a sense of voyeurism. Despite its sun-splashed riffs and polished pop sensibilities, ‘Beachheads’ is, at its heart, a very real, very touching document of an individual’s journey through grief. And for that alone, should be held in high regard.
Words: Dave Beech
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