The Palace Garden

Beat Connection

Moshi Moshi/Tender Age Records, 2012

http://www.beatconnection.tumblr.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/30/2012

This is quite an interesting listen, especially when you take into account several points of fact here. First, the band initially picked up instruments hoping to emulate Metallica and Nirvana riffs. Second, Beat Connection resides in Seattle.  As it turned out, these one-time aspiring hard rockers from a town known for its gloomy music play the sunniest of sunny indie-electronic and hazy pop, though when you consider they take their name from a LCD Soundsystem song it makes more sense. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The most notable difference between Beat Connection and other like-minded outfits is while most synth pop hides vocals under layered and often-noisy instrumentation, on Palace Garden, Tom Eddy's pipes are loud and clear for most of the ride. On the first single, “The Palace Garden 4AM,” this is very apparent. The song is a driving, melodic effort of fluttering synth and sugary sweet vocal harmonies. However, several selections here are vocal-less, allowing the band's instrumentation to shine. Opener “New Criteria” illustrates  Beat Connection's penchant for blurry and gorgeous song craft. Next, “The Foreign Embassy” is less than a minute of washed-out sounds that moves directly into “Further Out,” a pop-fused dance track with playful synth. The band proves they have the chops for dance floor romping on “Sometimes Wonder,” which would be an ideal spin at the club. Though most of the tracks here are under four minutes, the closer “En Route” surpasses seven minutes and resides on a level of indie rock greatness achieved by The Shins.

A very polished and highly addictive debut album, The Palace Garden showcases Beat Connection holding their own against similar groups like Vampire Weekend or Friendly Fires. Though their pop oriented melodies are at the forefront of these songs, the addition of female vocals, Afro-beat melodica, and nods to '80s radio as well as the instrumental breaks keep things varied enough to warrant repeated listens. These guys could very well be the next big thing in electronic pop.

Rating: B

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Moshi Moshi/Tender Age Records, and is used for informational purposes only.