“I cannot let you walk […] I am you.”
It is with this bold proclamation that Thomas Mullarney III leads Escapements. Provocative lyrics (“I am not a servant / To my own desire / I trade in anything / You don’t like / We live in a reasonable time”) and instrumentalist Jacob Gossett’s sparse accompaniment upward step motif in the opening track and single, “IM U” ominously bridges the distance between Beacon’s debut album The Ways We Separate and this Friday’s release via Ghostly International.
This new record spins the focus from space to time, according to the duo. Escapements isn’t light, that’s for sure. Mullarney told Pop’stache years ago, “Everything lyric-wise is purposeful, but the lyrics really grow out of the tones and atmosphere of the sounds that we’re building.”
Notably, the title track starts hot and heavy, with hip hop samples, light flourishes, and a voluntary hopelessness before transgressing into a dance floor sweat with “Better or Worse.”
Fatigue begins settling on Escapements as early as “Escapements” due to its exceptional uniformity. Described as melodic electronic, Beacon were always fantastic at putting their listeners into a sugar-drenched trance, with percussively-driven slow builds.
On their own, each track of Escapements paints an intricate nightscape: “Running Out” adds some subtle diversity with a syncopated backbeat and microtonal vocals; “Better or Worse” oozes with a dark brooding bass and Mullarney’s sweet, airy falsetto. Fluttery jewel tones on “Hollow” are reminiscent of Tycho’s Dive, and the watered down keys are continued on “Persevere,” any club-ready beat. Late on the record, “L1” offers an intriguing polyrhythm on new timbres: a shrill, distant synth contrasts a thick brush in conflicting time — which, ultimately, is the exercise.
Escapements finishes with an obscure uptempo piano ballad titled “You’re Wondering,” expressing in words exactly how its listener is left. It’s a lot at once going over one’s head.
Article by Joanna Jiang