Beulah : Score from Augusta

The surf isn't up, but the spirit is...

This week on the streets of San Francisco, a tale of bowing down in front of the most monolithic influences but never letting them swallow you up. In other words, 'Cisco's Beulah love The Beach Boys, but aren't scared to do wicked, distorted things in the Church Of Wilson. They corrupt the fragile melodies. Scuff the shine off the harmonies. Dispatch brash guitars where, if the blueprint was fully adhered to, only pretty ones would sit.

With a wild Pacific wind howling through the studio, these misfits and malcontents offer a radiant example of what can be found on their new 'When Your Heartstrings Break' album; a nourishing merger of breathy alt-rock loveliness and garage band turbulence which holds no truck with fancy artifice, but much with genuine vigour and temerity.

Proof, beneath the Gap billboards, away from the neon bullshit and celebrity hyperbole, of a fragile but generous tenderness swelling amid the mayhem of West Coast America. It's California, but not on a postcard perfect day. The surf isn't up, but the spirit is.

Steven Wells

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