The Recks have always been one of the bands I admire- just out of reach – occasionally seeing them live and loving what I heard, but with frustratingly little recorded material. So I felt honoured when the email came through with the pre-release link to their debut album and it definitely lived up to my expectations. So here is a song by song review of The Recks Beast From the Sea.
‘Lovers In The Night’ kicks off the album with an extended intro. This song builds tension throughout and breaks into the fast-paced jig around a minute in. When listening to this song you notice just how many different layers are present. The rolling drum beat and walking bass line hold the song together while the other instruments dance just below the gritty, megaphone style vocals. With all of these layers playing off each other it makes the song light and playful with a summery vintage vibe that is distinct to The Recks and really introduces what to expect from this album.
Next are two softer songs with eerie vocals and heavy guitar tones. ‘Lights’ and ‘In the Garden’ are both songs that are perfect for those watching the sunset after a long lazy day under the summer sun, but still with the infectious rhythms of the rest of the album. When the band performed these songs at their album launch, I noticed that they had a weight behind them that showed a slightly darker side to The Recks that isn’t usually seen.
‘Low Life’ has always been a favourite of mine and every time I listen to it, the song brings back memories of dancing crowds in front of the swirling lights and smoky stage presence of The Recks. This song radiates good times and really shows off the band’s musical skill and song writing talents to the full.
‘You’re what I want’ has haunting vocals leading the textured instruments in a dark ballad. The highlight of this song for me are the tortured lyrics with the repeated refrain of ‘I’ve never heard your scream but I’ve never seen you smile’. Perhaps it is the English student inside me saying this but this refrain sets a fairly disturbing tone for the song that definitely works in the band’s favour.
This next song is my favourite on the album because of its combination of different styles from a distinct carnival vibe to an almost psychobilly chorus and breakdown. ‘Stranger’ is the kind of song that you could howl along to at the top of your lungs at a gig or you could listen to it late at night and it wouldn’t feel out of place.
A stark contrast to the previous song ‘She Wants That To’ is upbeat and light hearted. Led by the upbeat drums and scat-like vocals, giving it an uplifting atmosphere. The main part of the song is then followed by a soulful half-time breakdown that creates a small break as if the band are coming up for air before jumping straight back into the scat and rolling drums.
‘Spanish Relations’ starts with a saloon piano and crackling, vinyl-style audio quality that creates the same vintage, audibly sepia feel that has been a small part of their whole album but is strongest in this song. Alongside this vintage theme there is a mix of theatrical and dub-step influences that add to the song as The Recks tell a story using accompanying backing vocals and piano reminiscent of more theatrical songs with dub-step style bass lines and vocal reverb.
‘Trainwreck’ was released as a single earlier this year accompanied by an emotion filled video about the impact of social media and how it’s destroying some people’s lives. To me this song and its video go hand in hand with the hard-hitting lyrics to complete the song.
The last song on their album ‘Valentine’ is a song that sounds as if it was written to be played with a car full of people singing along. The verses have a kind of 20s feel which conjures thoughts of sped up flapper girls and busy sunny scenes. These verses are complimented by a typically Recks chorus completed by the duel vocals and the breakdowns of almost acapella heartfelt lyrics or jig like instrumentals.
To conclude, this album is a true success that leaves the listener with a smile on their face and summer on their mind. It’s worth multiple listens and I have found that the more I listen to these songs the more I love them.