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Jeff Beam

Portland psych-rocker goes back, and goes deep, on this self-titled LP

by | Apr 21, 2020

Jeff Beam
Jeff Beam

Jeff Beam understands the significance of a self-titled album. Two years ago, his collective, The Maine Embassy, released a song-for-song tribute to The Beatles, the 1968 double LP that made a point of reintroducing the world to the granular quirks of its members. Like the Fab Four in ‘68, Beam is deep into his career at this point — his introspective psychedelia as familiar to local fans as the horn of the Casco Bay Ferry. And the nine tracks on Jeff Beam, recorded and almost entirely performed by Beam himself, distill his influences into a half-dreaming Sunday morning euphoria that’s all his own. The opener, “Stephen King,” possesses the shimmering beauty and existential malaise of a Thom Yorke solo effort, but Beam’s acoustic strumming grounds the song in warmth and wonder. “Disarray” balances its desperate plea of a refrain with a ‘90s British club groove. And “Think Twice, It’s Not All Right” takes us back to his beloved Beatles, with playful “Glass Onion” bass and serpentine backwards guitars, though its subject matter is very 2020. “Don’t act so surprised that you are cheering for the villain,” Beam tells a Trumper. But he also offers redemption: “It’s not too late to get right … and you seem like a nice guy.” These days, that sentiment sounds as gorgeously naïve as proclaiming that all we need is love.

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