Almost forgot about this one, which ran last Friday at Dusted.
Howls of Joy
Beat Mark makes echoey, fuzzily distorted guitar pop that will be instantly recognizable to anyone enamored of Crystal Stilts, first album Pains of Being Pure at Heart, early Raveonettes and The Fresh & Onlys. Their boy/girl vocals are drenched in reverb and super-charged with enthusiasm, reaching all-out euphoria a couple of times per song. The guitar is sharp, bright and chiming, though draped with hazy dissonance. It sounds like the happiest music ever to emerge from the bottom of a very deep well, a play of scratchy shadows and well illuminated, addictive hooks. The catch is that the band is French – and singing in English – lending a faint ESL strangeness to their exuberant choruses.
Beat Mark’s founders, Julien Perez and Gaëtan Didelot, met as children and have played for some time in a glossy synth-dance outfit called Adam Kesher (the name comes from a character in Mullholland Drive). For Beat Mark, however, they ditched the super-clean, Euro-disco jitteriness of Adam Kesher and explored a grittier set of influences. Swell Maps figured briefly in their early planning sessions, though you can’t hear much of it on Howls of Joy. You can hear their fascination with bands like The Pastels, The Vaselines and The Velvet Underground, however in the dirt-crusted romanticism of their churning songs.