Beaulieu Porch/Beaulieu Porch
January 25, 2013
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Beaulieu Porch, the confectionary front stoop of Salisbury based Simon Berry’s one-man shop, recently made a grand showing in the 2012 Shindig! Writers’ Poll and a sampling of the nuggets in Beaulieu Porch make it clear why. It also makes clear (or one more damn good reason among many) that forgoing a year-end top rundown—or at the very least a timely one, let alone inclusive—here makes perfect sense. With the spigot now endlessly running keeping up is impossible, but if resources where in similar supply as that hallowed mag, Beaulieu Porch would have surely floated effortlessly to the upper regions…just as effortlessly as the sounds waft from Berry’s Porch. It is indeed a beautiful place. It’s so commonplace to say that bands that embrace a brimming, lush psych-pop stance are ‘Beatle-esque’ that the statement loses impact. And scope. The magical mystery tour didn’t stop there, or then. Berry is highly in tune to passengers picked up along the way, and Beaulieu Porch is a testament to all the singular pop-savants that have floated downstream since. More than the succulent pop sounds, the watery melodies, crunch and strum, or Berry’s downy and uplifting vocals, it’s the songs that stay front and center. Each song is a gem in its own right, and when all put together you get a box of pop-candy that leaves you licking your fingers for just a little bit more. There’s euphoric, blissful peaks in plenty as well as rapturous longing in cuts like the gorgeous Greencroft Street or the Love-ish Sweden. Lest anyone get the wrong impression, it’s not all pixie sticks by a long shot, made clear by punchy porch rockers (more on that in a minute) like Raspberry Babies or Laminations Are Loaded. In bites, or as a whole, Berry’s washes of sounds flow and cascade with kaleidoscopic colors that crest at a vantage point where you can see that Strawberry Fields really do go on forever.
If you like your sweets made with a touch more granulated sugar, Berry can satisfy that tooth also with his other project, Spider 72. Seven. has all the pop surge of Beaulieu Porch, frosted with a bit of glam and plenty of thick, chunky chords. Coursing out as naturally as Beaulieu Porch, there’s no mistaking its the same cap’n working the rudder. This time downstream though, the waters percolate as Berry shoots some pop rapids, navigating as assuredly as above. Cuts like the amped Giant Supermen and Devolution are where power and psych pop meet head on for a celebration that oozes into every other track, and between your teeth. There’s no sugar substitutes here, and neither does it slip into a saccharine quagmire. Infused with his enthusiasm and sheer exuberance, this is heartfelt stuff. As much as Beaulieu Porch.
Take a bite. Take two. And for once, forget about brushing and just enjoy.