1. We are going to invert…
2. Here, wait a minute! Damn it!
3. We’re goin’ in. We’re going down.
4. Oh, god.
5. I admit it now. I was scared.
6. We were all scared.
7. Push it way up!
8. …it’s just wide open field.
9. It’s bad. We’re hit, man, we are hit.
10. Amy, I love you.
2010 was definitely the year of the bedroom musician. Recording and production tools have now progressed to a point whereby you can make a professional-sounding album on a shoestring budget and still have it appear on numerous best of lists at the end of the year. Anyone who read my top ten of 2010 will know how this review is going to go. Whilst not making the final few, Beacons was still an honourable mention, which basically means top fifteen, which is still fucking awesome. Right? Right.
Of course, doing it yourself and micro-managing your own project, level of talent regardless, can have its downsides. The absolute perfectionist will twiddle and tweak; never satisfied, and as a result the endeavour can easily stall through lack of progress. On the other hand, the lazy will neglect to read the necessary manuals, and
So it is only the tenacious individual, patient yet confident, with shed-loads of talent and an ear for quality production that will succeed on their own. Easy then.
Luckily for Ben Sharp, alias Cloudkicker, he has all of this wrapped up in one neat, modest bundle; honed through a number of releases up to this effort from late last year; and Beacons is a striking effort. As with his previous works, it is entirely instrumental, which allows the majestic groove that flows throughout to really stand up and be noticed. Sections flow organically into each other, kept interesting by off-beat math-rock technicality. Riffs will bend and change every bar at times, yet always retain the feel of the track, and build upon one another, usually to an awesome drop or some fantastic riff to close.
Often with this kind of one-man project there is an instrument that feels underdeveloped. Not here though. Every instrument speaks its own carefully written part, and it’s all mixed and mastered so beautifully that, whilst certain parts stand out at times, this is only because he wants you to take notice. It all blends and sits so perfectly that I’m sure people would pay him for his services, based on the quality here.
What’s more, the album never loses its charm. As well as a hefty week/ten days gracing my mp3 player, Beacons has found its way back as the object of my appetite on more than one occasion.
It’s a truly remarkable album, and all the more so considering its absolutely free! Sharp does this for the love, and it really shows.
Cloudkicker’s Beacons gets: