26 Mar 2023

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Beachware - Album Review: It's Only Time

12 Feb 2023 // A review by Danica Bryant

Maybe it’s time we gave up” is the very first lyric of Beachware’s very first album, It’s Only Time. It’s a bewildering introduction to a band, who given the circumstances of a technical debut, you’d expect to be all for taking the musical world by storm. But it’s a line that signals just how much more there is to this seemingly cheery surf-rock band than meets the eye.

It’s Only Time melds electronic sounds with raw real instrumentation, tackling life’s most emotionally challenging experiences over deceptively joyous choruses and danceable synth pop. The influence of releases like Paramore’s After Laughter and Glass Animals’ How To Be A Human Being is clear, but Beachware always put their own unique spin on things, with a beachier (no pun intended) Kiwiana approach. 

Opening track Give It Up is an upbeat number musing over the music industry, about giving it your best in spite of the world’s apparent meaninglessness. Subtle harmonies between the male and female vocals give the track a quirky sense of life, furthered by the stunning bridge which uses digital effects to convey the discomfort of admitting “the ride’s over before it begins”. The Look & The Feel touches on this complexity of the musician lifestyle once more. “Why does there have to be a show, another show?” It’s an observation many will relate to, exhausting yourself in front of often unwilling audiences whilst trying to maintain the passion that starts it all.

Strange Feeling provides one of the album’s most singable, unforgettable choruses, whilst the thrilling blend of real and digital instruments on the following Hotels in Thailand creates a jungle of sound that opens up possibilities for the band to get more experimental. By this point in the album, it’s clear the slower moments will be few and far between, but impressively, the persistent up-tempo approach never seems to limit the band.

Single Where Could Our Love Go? provides one of the album’s cooler choruses. Its soft, simple melodies take on a dreamy approach through subtle production and moody verses. The two most traditionally surfy tracks on the record follow, The Arcade and See What I See, most reminiscent of their 2017 EP Twin Coast Disc Drive. Thrashy, spiked guitars and chanty pop hooks make these two obvious standouts, the album’s truest moments of summer nostalgia. These two songs perhaps could have been spread across the tracklist to give them each their moment to shine, but as is, they still bring some brightness amongst the emotionally heavier tracks.

Classic synths uplift the mood of the lyrically conflicted I Can’t Relate, which returns to the vulnerability of the album’s earlier tracks. “Touch me and hold me right here in the dark”, the band initially sings, celebrating a moment of love at its finest, but then cleverly, and jarringly, they darken the refrain with “over and over as we fall apart”. It’s a line that’s as sticky as honey and light on the surface, until you give it more than a second’s thought — arguably fulfilling pop music’s greatest potential feature.

The slowest song on the record is the closer, All My Dreams, a sultry, bittersweet ballad that will have you picturing a swaying festival crowd in their feelings over the heartfelt gang vocals. Sound effects of lapping waves and squawking birds nod to the band’s name in its closing moments, a tongue-in-cheek observation of the record’s seaside sonic direction, that equally gives the listener time to digest the gravity of It’s Only Time.

Whilst on the surface, Beachware are a bubblegum band of pure positivity, there’s extreme depth to their music. It is an utter blessing to find such standout acts in Aotearoa. This is music with wide appeal that does not sacrifice its meaning or creativity. For listeners of all walks of life, Beachware’s debut album It’s Only Time cannot be recommended highly enough.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Beachware

Beachware is a Kiwi alt pop group with influences across the board. Featuring 80's inspired keyboards, catchy baselines, and Rob's unmistakably kiwi vocals, Beachware deliver a guitar driven, dance fueled powerpop show.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Beachware


It's Only Time
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Twin Coast Disc Drive
Year: 2017
Type: EP

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