reviewed by Michael Thomas
A certain sound comes to mind from any band that has “beach” in its mind, but the debut EP from this Regina band seems to take the beach more as a state of mind. Beach Body are undeniably chill, but the chill comes at a cost. There’s an air of hopelessness and sadness that comes through, even when the subject matter is ostensibly happy.
If you couldn’t tell, the Plain Life EP has a dual meaning. Certainly the people in these songs feel like their life is plain, as in not unusual or exciting. But there’s also the plains of the Prairies, and it holds its own kind of charms—sometimes.
The laid-back, lo-fi pop Beach Body play accompanies the often less-than-happy lyrics. After the opening “Introduction,” which features a swirl of guitars and what sounds like glockenspiel, we’re dropped into the Plain Life of Beach Body. The band clearly has a little bit of a sense of humour as evidenced by the next song, “Ooooo,” which is onomatopoeia for the band’s harmonious vocalizations. I love specific images in songs and we are here told “I built a bridge when I was too scared to swim” only for the unnamed “you” to burn it down. The person in this song feels the world is against him.
“Connor Bought a Van” and “Wasted Days” are kin in their themes. In the former, the song’s narrator says, “I see the first light from the rising sun/Like my old man, every new day is just another one.” The sun can often be a pleasant thing to see, but here, it just means another day, same old same old. The band’s “oohs” make it almost a lament. In “Wasted Days,” the sadness from “Connor” turns into resentment. We all live to stay alive and end up in dead-end jobs, struggling to pay the rent. The song feels way too real.
All that said, there’s a bit of figurative sunshine on the EP’s title track. The Prairies are flat, you can see for miles, and as a result they can make you feel trapped and restless. But it might not be so bad. The narrator can find enough simple pleasures to get him through his days.
If you feel like your life is plain, Beach Body understand your pain.
Top Track: “Connor Bought a Van”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)