GospelbeacH “Wiggle Your Fingers”

Curation Records, 2024

Sad to see them go but GospelbeacH go out on a high.

It was almost ten years ago GospelbeacH debuted with ‘Pacific Surf Line.’ It was the first of a number of releases that mined the influence of Californian music gone by.  From folk-rock and sunshine pop, to country-rock and the Paisley Underground, GospelbeacH have been there and done that which, as founder Brent Rademaker says, is just a bit weird as the 60s/70s Los Angeles sound with which they are often compared was an era he missed as a young musician.

If previous albums have been consistent in their Californian influence, those inspirations haven’t stayed constant, ranging as they have from Grateful Dead early 70s through Tom Petty and lush, Laurel Canyon. ‘Wiggle Your Fingers’ is to be the final GospelbeacH album and, although there is evidence of a definite journey from the Canyon through early 80’s Hollywood here, the album itself contains enough of a mix to serve almost as a synopsis of GospelbeacH’s entity.

The Dropouts’ for instance is a big, bouncy slice of that aforementioned sunshine pop with distinct hints of World Party, albeit that World Party were British and a world, excuse the pun, away from that Laurel Canyon vibe, but hey ho. ‘Losin’ Patience’ with its upbeat piano and jangly guitars has a similar feel and disappoints only in its frustratingly untimely fade-out at under three minutes.

Nothin’ But A Fool’ opens the album and is rich in some memorable pedal steel from Joe Harvey White, he of AUK favourites The Hanging Stars. It is an opening track to grab the attention and, while reluctant to say that it showcases the band at its absolute peak for fear of deterring further exploration of the whole album, it is, especially for anyone unfamiliar with the band, a marvellous introduction.

The title and the soulful, moving bass line of ‘You’re The Only One (Frozen Burrito #2)’ are an obvious nod to the Flying Burrito Brothers country R&B ballad Hot Burrito #1. That pedal steel twang brings a lovely, warm glow to the track while that earlier reference to Tom Petty is brought to life in ‘Hang Thyme’ a song about suicide with, Rademaker would have us believe, a happy ending.

It is another highlight of a high-quality final album. It seems only appropriate that the last word on the band that was GospelbeacH should be left to Rademaker as he describes, in his own wry way, ‘The End’. “The final song written for the album and in typical GospelbeacH fashion the rough mix was so exciting but in an attempt to “make it better” with overdubs, it lost EVERYTHING. Still, we wanted to end the final album with a song called The End just to prove what might’ve been.

7/10
7/10

About Peter Churchill 180 Articles
Lover of intelligent singer-songwriters; a little bit country; a little bit folk; a little bit Americana. Devotee of the 'small is beautiful' school of thought when it comes to music venues.
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Carla Olson

Yes sad to lose the good bands! I did a few Gene Clark shows with Kai Clark and Gospel BeacH. They were very good indeed 🌴🌵🎶🤷‍♀️

Morley Bartnof

Bless Up GospelbeacH May All Your Next Musical Adventures Be as Fortuitous