R E V I E W
Tenterhook album by Beat Rhythm Fashion
I love Beat Rhythm Fashion’s 1981 singles ‘Turn of the Century’ and ‘Beings Rest Finally’. But I was way too young to have known the songs when they first came out; I discovered them much later in life. Nevertheless, despite not knowing them from new, these songs have become in my mind timeless classics. Following only a short period in existence as a band, and in spite of having released such excellent songs, they were gone.
Now, after 35 years, Beat Rhythm Fashion have a new album, ‘Tenterhook’, to be released on 11 February.
Like all the best albums, and like their earlier singles, this is a slow burner. The album opens with the single ‘Hard as Hell’, however, which is perhaps the most ‘immediate’ song in the collection, and in some ways is the closest in feel to those early singles. Not a new composition, this song can be found amongst live recordings from a gig recorded at The Gladstone in Christchurch from 1981, posthumously released on the 2007 compilation ‘Bring Real Freedom’. And this isn’t the only revisit on Tenterhook, either: ‘Freezing My Precedent’ and ‘Optimism’ both also gain studio recordings for the first time here. Many of the rest of the songs on the album are new collaborations between original member Nino Birch (guitar and vocals) and Failsafe Records’ Rob Mayes (bass), who has been instrumental in bringing this album to fruition, and on whose label this appears. An early favourite for me is one of these, ‘Dan’, written about founding bass player Dan Birch – and Nino’s brother - who died in 2011. This song is full of emotion, as you would expect of a song from a brother left behind. “Damn it Dan!!”. I’m sure my favourites will change, or be added to, after a few more listens. Give this album your attention, and give it some time.
The recording of the album has been a global collaboration, with Birch in Australia, Mayes in Japan and drummer Caroline Easther in New Zealand. The band are coming together, however, with a nationwide tour, including an Auckland gig at the Whammy Bar on 14 March.
Beat Rhythm Fashion Bandcamp: https://beatrhythmfashion.bandcamp.com
- Ian Duggan