Beast Make Bomb Goes Out with a Bang

by delarue

In their three years together, Brooklyn’s Beast Make Bomb were probably the kind of band who blew other bands off the stage. That statement cuts both ways. On one hand, they served as opening act for the Cold War Kids, Tokyo Police Club and the Whigs, a situation where just about anybody could go onstage, burp into the mic and by doing so, outperform the headliner: at least burping takes a little effort. On the other hand, Beast Make Bomb had good songs and played them well, something you wouldn’t expect from a group who met at NYU and described their music as “songs informed by twenty-something college life in urban grit” – the gentrifier subtext isn’t pretty. If you’re wondering why all this is in the past tense, it’s because Beast Make Bomb are finished – singer Ceci Gomez, guitarist Glenn VanDyke, bassist Sam Goldfine and drummer Hartley Lewis are calling it quits. You have one more chance to see them, at the downstairs studio space at Webster Hall tomorrow the 30th around 8 PM. But they’ve left a tantalizing legacy of recordings, all of them free downloads at their Bandcamp site. If this is the only thing in music the four band members ever do, it’s a good thing they did it – if they go on to other projects, it’s good reason to keep an eye on them.

Their final recording is an ep titled Double Dipper, which you can grab for free without having to sign up for an email list or such. The first track, Cotton Mouth sputters over a bright flurry of guitars, half U2’s the Edge, half dreampop. “I go up up and away,” Gomez sings in a coy come-hither tone -it sounds a lot like underrated early 90s Britrockers Echobelly. The title track opens with a suspenseful sway and blasts of feedback from VanDyke’s amp, Gomez reminding the world that she’s a “double dipper, a boy collector, a love rejector.” The darkest song, Arachnid kicks off with a spiraling bass hook into burning guitar chords, a chromatically-fueled menace underscored by Gomez’ disarmingly pretty vocals. Its insistent dreampop chorus spins back into the verse with a vicious pickslide. The last song, Dream Boat is a revelation: it’s as if legendary 80s New York noiserockers Live Skull reunited and teamed up with an early 90s version of Lush.

From all of this, it’s obvious that Beast Make Bomb had something good going on, referencing a kaleidoscope of other styles without sounding derivative. So why are they breaking up? That may be nobody’s business. Or maybe, they realized that they were fish out of water. They had “management,” whatever that means at this point in history; clearly, their industry connections were sufficient to get them booked on more than one national tour. But whatever’s left of that industry these days wants nothing to do with bands like Beast Make Bomb, who played music because they loved it and were good at it, not because they want to please anyone other than themselves. Take home a small piece of New York rock history tomorrow night at Webster Hall.