Septic Beach started in 2012 when Spencer Smalley (guitar/vocals) and Connor Mandas (bass guitar) started a punk band. As the band evolved they turned into a style that feels like a far distant cousin of punk. On their self-titled album Septic Beach they play a combination of predominantly ’50s pop/surf along with indie rock. I was actually reminded frequently of the band Real Estate.
Their album leans towards lo-fi despite it being recorded in a studio. The guitars were a bit tinny sounding and the low end could have been a bit more defined. Overall, the sound worked but I thought some minor tweaking would have helped out. My only minor complaint is the band occasionally gets out of the pocket. Ninety-eight percent of the time they sounded fine but I did notice the couple of times that got about a beat off.
Up first is “Acceptance” which starts off with a drum beat that reminds me of a distinct Iggy Pop song you’ve probably heard of before. Clean guitar and bass guitar soon make their way into the picture. It’s fairly straightforward revolving around basic chords and major scales. It’s a catchy, fun song and not much more else than that.
As the album progresses that's mostly what you are in for and in my opinion is there nothing wrong with that. “Her” heavily leans in to a ’50s pop vibe while “It's Not Right” has more of an indie rock vibe that actually does feel quite contemporary. ”My Way” is a highlight that contains some of the best vocal harmonies.
The other highlight to my ears was “What's That Supposed To Mean?” I couldn't make out what he was kind of mumbling on this song. According to the lyrics on Bandcamp it's “I’m dead.” You would never know considering how cheerful and poppy the song sounds.
Septic Beach is a solid release in my opinion. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done thousands of times before but the songwriting and delivery was good. I’m looking forward to the band evolving.
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