by Kris Handel (@khandel84)
Bull in the Shade is the sophomore full length release from Allston (Boston) indie rock quartet Beeef, that increases the muscle in the tunesmith and lends an interesting perspective towards songwriting. Perry Eaton uses a slightly quirky vocal delivery that grabs attention immediately while the band establish jangling and mostly frantic instrumentation. Beeef have the knack of sounding familiar yet stand and create on their own merit with Eaton utilizing some sharp writing chops combined with a strong bottom end and memorable guitar solos from Josh Bolduc. They have a unique vision of living life, one in which being completely over-burdened by expectations of work or others is the complete antithesis of.
Beeef show off their penchant for drifting slightly off beat “slacker” pop on a song like “Little Guys” with Eaton mixing a laid-back croon with a half-chanted chorus while Bolduc lays down flowing leads adding extra character along with Daniel Schiffer’s bobbing basslines. There’s a bit of aching and nostalgia involved here that hits the sweet spot and becomes extremely engaging on multiple levels. “I’m So Sorry” features guest vocals from Sidney Gish, a bright little tune with several changes of pace that create multiple levels for the listener to work through. Eaton and Gish’s vocal styles play off each other, creating even more musical texture. Beeef’s drifting pop stylings are at the fore here and the gloriously chiming enthusiasm should bring a smile to the face of even the most hardened of listeners.
“Horse” has Eaton wishing for things to slow down around him and allow for some joy and relaxation instead of everything in life moving at a breakneck pace. Here he encourages taking some time to reconnect with old friends and spend some time doing favored activities instead of getting caught up in work or exhausting matters of life that are faced in the every day. The passage of time and finding a way to get the most out of it is a major subject for Beeef and is presented as such in the wiggling and slightly jagged early 80’s new-wave/post-punk manner with “Not Here.” There’s space to stretch out as Schiffer’s bass imposes itself as a driving force. The guitars crash and push against the driving rhythm section, as Eaton wishes for time to escape mounting responsibilities.
With Bull in the Shade, Beeef enthusiastically encourage taking time to enjoy life and all the opportunities provided to you before you regret missing the opportunity. Eaton and company prioritize celebrating life with all it’s joys and struggles in equal measures without completely shirking the realities faced in ‘grown-up” life. Bull in the Shade is a document that encapsulates a mood of youthful summertime and taking care of oneself in finding a life you wish to live instead of being completely overwhelmed by external forces. Beeef want to provide an escape and to reflect on moments of true happiness and the desire to capitalize on them, as fleeting as they may be, and the chiming energy and infectiousness throughout makes for an uplifting listen.