GospelbeacH “Another Summer of Love” (Alive Records, 2017)

The last time I saw Sid Vicious alive was in a supermarket just around the corner from his squat at New Court in Hampstead. He’d been on Top of The Pops with the Sex Pistols the day before, playing ‘Pretty Vacant’ and flashed a massive roll of fivers at me as he paid for his shopping. He said: “You’re still a fucking hippy then? When are you going to get your hair cut?” If Sid was still with us, he’d probably have said the very same thing to GospelbeacH. “Oi! Rademaker! Get yer hair cut!” Sid famously said he was too busy playing with his Action Man to remember the Summer of Love. How he would have reacted to an album called Another Summer of Love is anybody’s guess, but given that Sidney was once caught dancing around his room to Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ which included ‘Somebody to Love’ and ‘White Rabbit’, I think he would have absolutely loved it. What’s not to love?

GospelbeacH’s punk credentials are intact and impeccable. The legendary Mick Jones has been a massive influence on Brent Rademaker and GospelbeacH – they even wrote a homage to the Clash/BAD/Carbon Silicon guitarist, genius songsmith and producer (check out Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’ The Third) on their amazing first album Pacific Surf Line. Sometimes, GospelbeacH sound almost like a perfect synthesis of Gram Parsons, the Byrds and Mick Jones combined. Although this brilliant Californian band has their own inimitable style, those influences shine through and it’s always important to check out an outfit’s musical heroes and antecedents. Some other interesting influences can be heard on their latest album Another Summer of Love too. ‘In the Desert’ gives a friendly nod to the Jam’s ‘In the City’ with the line ‘In the desert there’s a thousand things I’d like to say to you’. It’s a warm and inviting song that conjures up exotic and expansive wide open spaces that combine with a first love’s embraces.

Formed from the ashes of Beechwood Sparks in 2014, GospelbeacH are gifted at writing songs with harmonies that hover forever in the ether. ‘You’re Already Home’ is another such delight. With guests like Miranda Lee Richards roped in to do BV’s on Another Summer of Love, GospelbeacH’s sonic palette has developed since the first album and their creative process has changed: Brent enlisting Trevor Beld Jimenez as an editor. Their skill at writing powerful and memorable melodies is second to none. Combine that with a sound that incorporates all the best aspects of the West Coast – a glorious melange that resonates with echoes of The Grateful Dead, The Byrds and Tom Petty combined with elements of British musical influence like Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, Julian Cope and the aforementioned Mick Jones and you’ve got a delectable recipe for prolonged listening. Perhaps for the next album, GospelbeacH could hook up with Mick Jones and write a few songs together? That would be awesome! How about it, Mick?

Author: Muff Fitzgerald

Muff Fitzgerald has worked as a roadie, publicist, broadcaster and journalist. Music makes his world go round and round and round. Somebody make it stop, please!

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