Juhu Beach – Scenes of Abandoned Industry

Juhu Beach
Scenes of Abandoned Industry

This was a surprise…Juhu Beach’s four-song EP Scenes of Abandoned Industry comes packaged with a title-appropriate cover image of a run-down industrial plant of some kind – a fitting but obvious choice. The typeface of the EP’s title and band name looks like a cursive font from Microsoft Word or something. The first impression was not a promising one. Would this be another tired indie-rock band or, worse, some kind of generic meant-for-the-basement AOR rock?

Scenes of Abandoned Industry, instead of being predictable and unimaginative, shows a lot of creativity and backs it up with solid playing. Each of the four songs (the fifth track is 5 seconds of what sounds like a radio snippet) has its own surprises. Opener “Empty Coil” has Mission of Burma’s early tremelo and feedback, to start. It has the tag-team, one-sings-while-the-other-talks vocals during what might be choruses. The singer approximates the intensity of Rites of Spring-era Guy Picciotto. As the song moves from one section to the next, you can’t ever predict where it’s going to end up. There’s even a breakdown about halfway through – all gated drums and stuttering bass – before it busts back into its more punk stylings.

The guitar tremelo pops up on a few of these tracks, actually. “Hibernating Mammals” starts much like its predecessor sonically. The drum backing for the feeding-back tremelo this time around is a series of rimshots. Not many bands try this and most wouldn’t get it this right if they did. Again like its predecessor, the choruses tend to have off-kilter guitar lines and the tag-team vocals, but guessing where the choruses will come and predicting the harmonies won’t be easy.

The remaining two songs continue along the same lines, with a good mix of unusual melodies in their energetic approach to music making. The recording and production quality isn’t exactly the best but then again this probably was not made on a Rick Rubin budget. There’s a lot to recommend the EP anyway, even if only as a teaser for what might be a really solid album.