The first review I did for this site a month ago was for Beat Connection’s “Silver Screen”, a single taken from this debut mini-album “Surf Noir”. I gave the song a favourable review referring to it as “a feel good song with more than a tinge of the old school to it” and expressing interest in hearing what they could offer from the forthcoming album.
Now that I’ve heard it, the enthusiasm has faded a little.
Beat Connection, Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger, have clearly set out to make a very summery-sounding album and while the musical choices here certainly evoke sunshine, they completely fail to raise the temperature. This is a very cold sounding collection of songs.
A huge reliance on electronic music and sampling means that the composers don’t seem to have inserted any of themselves into the music and thus, it’s hard to invest in it and even harder to love it.
To draw a comparison, before working on this review I had been listening to Nicki Minaj’s album “Pink Friday”. Minaj is obviously a controversial figure, but the reason she has caught the zeitgeist the way she has in the past 12 months is that everything she does just positively drips with personality. There is no such force of will coming from Beat Connection.
The individual songs on this collection fail to distinguish themselves from one another – if you have heard “Silver Screen”, there is really no reason to seek out “Sunburn”, “In The Water”, “Theme From Yours Truly” or any of the other four songs on the album.
From a technical point of view, there is practically nothing wrong with the album. One little flourish – the end of “Fresh Touch” slowly allowing the intro to “Silver Screen” to bleed into it is indisputably the highlight here, and you feel if there had been more examples of imagination like this scattered throughout then the collection would have been vastly improved.
Unfortunately for Beat Connection, no matter how good their intentions, you just can’t make a summer soundtrack if you’re unable to emit any warmth.
(Released through Tender Age on April 11th 2011)
Kenneth John Porteous