Album Review: Beau – That Thing Reality

Published On March 14, 2016 | By Haydon Benfield | Albums, Music

Friends since childhood, Heather Boo and Emma Rose decided in their early teens to learn guitar by watching YouTube tutorials.  From there the pair progressed to writing songs and eventually started performing as The Boos, a name which they later ditched feeling they had matured beyond it, settling on the name Beau, both for its similarity to Boos and to play with the concepts of the masculine and feminine.  Now in their early 20’s, the New York alt-pop duo draw comparisons to artists like Laura Marling, Stevie Nicks, and Lana Del Rey, and sure, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head to the side you can probably see a resemblance, but such comparisons will only get you so far in understanding Beau’s sound.

Beau - That Thing RealityBeau display an eclectic sound on their debut, That Thing Reality, and demonstrate an astounding dexterity in melding disparate musical styles with their own eclectic delivery to produce consistently satisfying and unique songs, which is surprising considering that two common elements drive every song: Rose’s guitar, and Boo’s vocals.  Yes, the pair have the backing of drums, bass, and keyboard, but these exist as embellishments to round out the sound and showcase Beau’s strong song writing.   Beau still have room to improve, despite the solid song-craft on display, with Rose’s guitar work leaving plenty of sonic territory to explore, and Boo requiring some vocal development – although her voice should improve as she grows into it and establishes her range and style.

Album opener, C’mon Please, is a rocking pop song which doesn’t even relent for its melody drenched bridge.  Beau promptly mix it up with the narratively driven, minimally arranged, folk-pop of Jane Hotel, and the funky rhythms, vocal harmonies and odd vocal syncopations of Mosquito, which is strangely satisfying as acoustic rock.  Single Animal Kingdom explores the potential of electric guitar in Beau’s song work, and Leave Me Be manages to simultaneously be jazzy and bluesy.  Soar Across The Sea is lyrical reminiscent of girl-groups from the 50’s and 60’s, but is delivered with a modern rockabilly and garage rock aesthetic.  That Thing Reality is a promise of great things to come, and we can only hope that Beau don’t succumb to the pressures and expectations that will come from debuting in such a strong fashion.

4 / 5 stars     

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