Beechwood

Trash Glamour

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New York City's Beechwood met as teenage skateboarders who were obsessed with the Ramones, the Stooges, and other staples of early punk and glam. Though their sound would smooth out into something more refined as the years progressed, their earliest recorded material was tenaciously raw. Originally released as a cassette, the group's 2014 debut, Trash Glamour, was recorded in a basement practice space, allegedly with a single microphone, resulting in ten tracks of incredibly rough-around-the-edges rock & roll. Still at the end of their teenage years, the creative duo of Gordon Lawrence and Isa Tineo spent that summer listening to the Stooges' Raw Power and the Stones' Exile on Main St. on repeat as they wrote and recorded Trash Glamour. Indeed, there are similarities here to the murky, confused production of both of those classics. Songs like "City Boy Blue" and "I Can't Stop It" aim for the palpable danger of the Stooges or the strung-out swagger of the Stones. When they're not in a full-force swing of stomping punk blues, songs like "Milk" and "Bleach Blonde" call on more tender girl group inclinations, and these examples of more vulnerable songwriting set the tone for the sound of albums that would follow. By and large, Trash Glamour is fervent and empty, with different songs attempting to hit the highs of various influential sounds, but mostly resulting in listless rewrites. Without the self-awareness it would take to simply be wearing influences on their sleeves, the band shamelessly apes the New York Dolls, the Dead Boys and the Stooges -- the fuzzy thrust of "Genocide" even going so far as to include an appropriation of Iggy's growling Fun House mantra of "I feel alright!" There's even a stab at Nirvana-like loud/soft dissonance on the slithering "Run Away." Liner notes written by the band state: "We had the sense that no one else was doing what we were doing at the time." That myopic thinking is apparent as Beechwood reinvents the wheel in songs that come off as a series of clich├ęs and rock & roll fantasies, heavy on affect and short on inspiration. Though the grizzly, lawless production isn't without character, it's the most interesting thing the album has to offer. The band would grow exponentially from here, dropping the overly costumed approach of their early days for more dynamic and considered songwriting. Trash Glamour works as a time capsule of a band in a particularly young and headstrong state of beginning, but its by-the-numbers fury is largely forgettable.

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