This Is Beaumont

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Labeling Beaumont's debut album, This Is Beaumont, as indie pop, as it is often categorized, is not really placing it in the proper context. While twee elements remain -- the group sometimes sounds like Belle and Sebastian or Trembling Blue Stars -- the music they create is more akin to '60s jazz. Guitars don't jangle; instead, their strings are softly plucked, creating an airy, soothing atmosphere. The songs are slow and mellow, but they're not boring -- at least not after a handful of spins. However, listeners familiar with This Is Beaumont's influences, such as Sergio Mendez, Dionne Warwick, Serge Gainsbourg, and Burt Bacharach, will easily be seduced by the LP's relaxing, sophisticated arrangements. Keith Girdler's wispy singing recalls the nasal whine of Robert Wratten from Trembling Blue Stars, only not as depressed. "Hey Barbara" and "Girls and Maths" are innocuous tales of schoolboy infatuation with dreamy acoustic riffs and simple, straightforward storytelling. Girdler is most effective on "Hey Barbara," wherein his yearning vocals glide across a bed of plush strings. Lyrics like "she's wearing out my polo shirt" from "Girls and Maths" epitomize Beaumont's distinctly English flavor, but cringe-inducing lines such as "love is like a plane/let's fly it" from "Love Is...1968" reveal the band's weakness for clich├ęs. None of the tracks on This Is Beaumont really jump out of the speakers; instead, they cruise on by, wooing the ears with subtle charms.

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