reviewed by Jack Derricourt
It’s not hard, not far to reach, we can hitch a ride to . . . Sheila Beach?
Yeah, you heard it right true believers: Peterborough’s Bareknuckle Studios are proud to present you with the best songs by ‘some bros’ that a Fostex 4 track can produce. Walk Home by Sheila Beach is a fun time with gritty noise machines and their pet humans.
Oh boy do I love this production quality. You will wonder why you bothered playing it in on your stereo, and didn’t just rig a tin can with a half-chewed Beats by Dre speaker to blare it loudly in your bathtub. This is weird pop, and it sounds like it: the bass drum is heavy like a headbanger trucking his forehead against the wall at a rager, the guitars scream in and out of the range of compression with wild abandon, echo threatening to break the melody apart completely, and the vocals are often just suggestions of lyric lines, some tones thrust up and down before coming together to indicate a chorus.
Maybe some of you are growing too used to slick production. It’s nice to live in the world of infinite multi-tracking and samples made in LA to be spliced into the newest New York production before being packaged in who-knows-where-Texas. But this EP is 100% Peterborough, ON, and I love it for that. You can see the old folks lining up in the snow for the crumbling crooning of “Senior Discount.” The New Order synth skills pushed on the listener via “Wally M” sound like a good time in a dark place with no friend to show your sounds off to but the slightly ruffled cats (see album art for more details.)
The disorienting beat and tilt-a-whirl of guitar on “Creep City” have a lot more social commentary to offer than proper closer material — but having the album end with only one foot on the ground adds a certain sense of novelty to the whole shebang.
I like what Sheila Beach have done with this one. I’d love to have them come out and admit that Walk Home is actually a concept album, each track simulating a Bloom’s Day kind of odyssey through Peterborough, but that’s for another time. Begin the voyage and listen in!
Top Track: “Senior Discount”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)