Last year, Pink Beam released their first full-length album Big Vacation (https://pinkbeam.bandcamp.com/album/big-vacation). The music, while somewhat scrappy, showed a lot of promise. This year, the Rockford, IL quartet is back with 2017 Singles, a three-song EP.
The growth from Big Vacation to 2017 Singles is impressive, considering that the two discs are separated by less than a year. The singing is better. The songs are more concise. While Big Vacation exuded an indie rock vibe, 2017 Singles, with its huge guitar sound, would not be out of place in a stadium.
So, what separates Pink Beam from the hundreds of other indie rock bands? First, melody. John Tallman’s high-pitched tenor (stretched to the limit on “Wrote Me a Letter”) enables the band to tackle hook-laden choruses most singers don’t have half the voice for.
Then there’s the lyrics. Yes, the lyrics are clever, but Pink Beam reaches beyond the “too cool for school” attitude that most indie bands settle for. Take “Boys on the Side”, for example. “The look in her eye when she hangs me out to dry / It’s a habit that’s so hard to break.” Depressing? Perhaps, but absolutely true.
The highlight of the disc is the closing track, “Did You Ever Really Think You’d Fall in Love?” It starts out as a midtempo rocker reminiscent of Big Vacation. Then, at the two-minute mark, the tempo slows and we’re treated to exquisite falsetto harmonies. The drums and guitars get heavier until the whole affair dissolves into electronic noise.
If 2017 Singles is any indication, Pink Beam is destined for great things. If (rather, “when”) they embark on their first staduim tour, I hope it includes a stop in northwest Pennsylvania.
**** (out of four)