The latest from Halifax band Beauts has a glossy sheen with depths of complexity that lie waiting just below the surface.

My initial reaction to Beauts’ latest album was something along the lines of, “Ooooo, shiny.” The Halifax based indie-rock band brings a bustling energy to Dalliance, combining thoughtful lyrics with bright post-punk. From “The City Loves Me” to “Shut In”, the record has me seeing in pastels and light leaks, and I couldn’t be happier about it. 

The latest in a series of releases since 2015, Dalliance is the result of a dedicated band that has gone to great lengths to suss out and cultivate their sound. Embellished with playful synths and plucky electric guitars, the steady rock beats drive while the textured instrumentals steer. Featuring layered vocal melodies and instrumental breaks, “Good Measure” satisfies the rock genre requirement for a guitar solo in the second half while 80s synths wrap it all up in a dreamy haze. Recalling acts like The Temper Trap and The Boxer Rebellion, Beauts lean on pop/rock conventions while skillfully experimenting with alternative arrangements. Delicately layering solid drum beats, sustained pedal tones, and a healthy helping of atmospheric reverb, Beauts’ recordings are alive with all the dynamic fervor of a festival set.

Live energy is all around me when I listen to Dalliance, recalling a time before the pandemic when that sort of thing was possible. Slowing down on “Just Like Everything”, the vocal harmonies seem to transcend the grounding power of the low-end, elevating the melody to an ethereal, cloud-like soundscape. Leaning deeper into punk-rock influences, “Drifters, All” draws out the slow-burning verses before breaking into a poppy chorus to scream along to: “we’re drifters, all, let the waves do the talking”. 

Making slight stylistic transitions throughout Dalliance, Beauts demonstrate a musical maturity in their ability to establish and then challenge their dominant sound. “Hurry” is graciously temperamental, drawing out the tension/release through the duration of the song, pivoting at the end with a fanfare of horns. The lyrics supplement the depth and scope of the song with this powerful self-reflection: “run my finger down the mirror and I don’t recognize the years”. Perhaps the prettiest song of the lot, “Shut In” draws the preceding twenty-seven minutes of music together in a characteristically bright, never-ending finish to this impressive collection of post-punk/dream-pop/ indie-rock songs.

Like a calm lake early on a summer morning, Dalliance has a glossy sheen with depths of complexity that lie waiting just below the surface ― dive in.

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