The melodies are bound tight; sinewy and powerful. The casio melodies and guitar are soft and billowy, but the kick drum threatens to break through the protective cage around your heart and expose the beating organ to the world. Black Beach, the new LP from Victoria based First Nations, is a one-man revolution.
Tribal drums fuel our march but it’s Derek’s yelpy vocals that bring the loners and miscreants out from the dark basements and away from the glow of the screen with his own understated take on those infamous words, “can you dig it?”
Over the last three records, Derek’s bedroom creations have become more fleshed out, thicker and more accessible, but they’ve never lost the heart and energy that propelled his words. He still executes restrained builds – the opener, “Your Waves, They Grow”, proves that – and booming triumphs (the guitar, banjo laced “Mt. St. Helens) but he seems more and more inspired by slower moving scenes. “Swimmers” is as touching a song as he’s put to tape so far, his tone is gentle but the percussion beefs up the tender piano and twinkling textures helping the listener settle into a reserved, reflective second half that starts with the delicate piano ballad “I Sang On Your Heart I” and ends with the sprawling, inspiring 9-minute title track.
It might be quiet enough that you barely hear him, but First Nations is letting everyone know, “we got the streets suckas.”
-Bryan Acker, Herohill