Beezewax – Peace Jazz

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: https://sellout.no/
Released: 2019
Buy Album [URL]: https://sellout.tigernet.no/item/153848–beezewax–peace-jazz–vinyl
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/beezewaxband

Band Line-Up:

Jan-Erik Hoel – bass, vocals
Thomas Garder Olsen – guitars
Chris Jacobsen – drums, percussion
Mattias Krohn Nielsen – guitar, keys
Kenneth Ishak – vocals, guitar, keys, percussion

 

Tracklisting:
  1.  Everything Happened
  2. Rainbows
  3. Closer
  4. Graffiti
  5. The Conduit
  6. Tall Island
  7.  Two Diamonds
  8. Peace Jazz
Review:

Indie Rock from Norway taking a leap into something more subtle and sophisticated, but don’t worry it’s not really Jazz and there isn’t a trumpet in sight. Album number seven for Beezewax, is released by Sellout! Music and is ideally timed for summer. It sounds completely un-Norwegian in style, owing a lot to the inspiration of The Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, it has a summery light feel, a flow of sound that has no distinct form, it is progressive and chaotic, washing over you without needing too much energy or thought.

Releasing their first album in 1997, ‘A Dozen Summits’, Kenneth Ishak (Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards/Percusion), Jan-Erik Hoel (Bass/Vocals), Thomas Garder Olsen (guitars), Chris Jacobsen (drums, percussion) and Mattias Krohn Nielsen (guitar, keys) have become known for luscious, rich harmonies and a laid back style. Their last release was in 2014, ‘Tomorrow’ and the teaser singles from this new offering have gone down well with critics, fans and the charts alike. This is the music you want to lie back in a deck-chair to, watch the fluffy white clouds drift by, sipping iced tea and daydreaming about things from your long lost youth. It won’t tax your brain, or make you feel energised, just relaxed. The lyrics describe viewpoints of different characters, without giving the full picture, just brief interludes that blend into each other. The title shouldn’t put you off, this isn’t Jazz, the name comes from an image by Nathaniel Russell (Indiana Music Artist) which showed a blackboard with the words ‘Peace Jazz’ on it, and that stuck with Ishak.

Beginning with ‘Everything Happened’, the music is very retro in style, soft and melodic, innocent and sweet, the lyrics are descriptive, creating a picture of the past, but it is the harmonies that capture the attention. The song is pleasant enough, almost ‘Brit-pop’ in the feel it creates, the chorus lacks any impact and it drifts away before you can catch its meaning. ‘Rainbows’ became the second single, it has a slightly awkward distortion, a quicker tempo, and no sense of where it is going, being free-flowing and abstract. The first single, ‘Closer’ features Jon Auer of ‘The Posies’ and Sophia Pettit of ‘Night Flowers’, it spent time in the Apple Music Breaking Alternative Charts, and was well received by a Norwegian Broadcaster. The female vocals blend well with Ishak’s voice, which is a small and weak style on its own, only given weight by the harmonies, Ishak on his own is not a great a vocalist but his voice lends well to singing with others. Continuing with ‘Graffiti’, this has at least a little bounce and swing, but it sounds like an attempt to be an English Indie band from the 90s, and lacks any spark of originality, the guitar work is mundane, with a dependency on distortion to make up for the lack of a solo of any substance.

‘The Conduit’ has a slight blues lilt to it, a melancholy edge that is created by the guitar which finally shows some skill and emotion, it is a grown up song, which meanders and slides, its soundscape emulating the meaning of the words. The hushed vocals of ‘Tall Island’ have a calming effect against a brighter, chirpier tone to the music, it has a happiness that is slightly less than joy but more than jolly, which lifts the listener and makes you think of good times with friends. ‘Two Diamonds’ will remind you of another song at times, which leaves you singing the wrong words in your head, other than that it is similar to everything that came before, nothing that will excite. Finally, title track ‘Peace Jazz’ brings this short 40 minute album to a close, aimlessly ambling towards the end with a few twirls on the way, not quite enough to thrill, but you could put up with hearing it now and again.

To sum this up, it is as bland as Deacon Blue, but without their charm, it is wallpaper, disappearing into the back-ground and while it won’t offend, it will be totally forgotten in minutes. Each song sounds like the last, they lack character, definition and any memorable hook, they simply fail to ignite any interest as they pass by. Ideal for having in the background, while you laze in the sun, but if you prefer to be on the move, then this lacks the passion or energy to hold any significance. It would be great in hotel lifts or as hold music for a utility company, but it won’t shape the future of Indie Rock. I am still thankful though that it didn’t have any trumpets, I detest trumpets.

Review By Lisa Nash
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