16 Feb 2015

Beaulieu Porch "The Carmelite Divine (Original Soundtrack) "

Reviewed by Joseph Murphy.

Beaulieu Porch – the work of UK musician Simon Berry – has been, over the last three years, prolific to say the least and familiar to readers of this blog. You can follow his releases’ many more than fond reviews throughout the years. The Carmelite Divine, released in early January by Tillsammans Records, continues Beaulieu Porch’s tilted journey through melting landscapes and shimmering colors, providing another healthy serving of simultaneously organic and ornate psychedelic pop songs.

For those unfamiliar with Berry’s work, “In Warm Water Over Iceland” is a bit of an introduction; it pulls from his eclectic background of influences. It’s awash in ambient sounds that lend a sort of echo alien echo chamber effect to the whole song. Then there’s the ascending, buried vocals – akin to most shoegaze acts – dreamy guitar solos, and the baroque flourishes which sound lifted both from acid folk and science fiction. The world into which you’re shoved from there is clear, at least, from the start.

While “Kim Six” is still packed with layers, it’s a testament to Berry’s simple songwriting. Yes, there are field recordings of children at play or singing (appearing throughout the album), a warbling organ, and any number of guitar washes, but, at the heart of this song, is Berry’s rhythm guitar and voice. It’d be just as good stripped to its minimum. Berry’s voice – here, in particular – finds a perfectly off-kilter melody that is immediately recognizable and unique. It’s a wonderfully eerie gem.

“Her Coloured Eyes” proves Berry’s good sense of timing. The album is perfectly plotted with enough hooks to keep those looking happy and enough peaks and crescendos to keep the cohesiveness of the album going. “Her Coloured Eyes” delves into the familiarly-strange psychedelic landscapes of narrative songwriting, where the guitar licks drip around the scene.

You can fight the urge to compare as much as you want because it’s a dangerous game, but it would feel remiss not pointing out Simon Berry’s Lennon-like songwriting; the voice, too, is uncanny. At times, you could almost be fooled into believing a sparser track was a buried one-off by Lennon himself. However, I will add that, while the songwriting and aesthetics feel, at first, “Beatlesesque,” there is a disjointed, purposefully twisted pop-sense that The Beatles only began to explore. Besides, this is so distinctly the brain child of one man alone. The Carmelite Divine is an essential work in an already impressive catalog. It’s yet another consistent and well plotted trip.

Beaulieu Porch’s The Carmelite Divine: Original Soundtrack is available digitally here:

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