BEAK> >>

BEAK> >>
Beak>, the side-project of Portishead's Geoff Barrow (with Matt Williams and Billy Fuller) are back with their second album, >>, and they sound heavier and more confident than before with the welcome addition of some dirty synth work. The album bears the clear mark of Krautrock, which has been coming to the forefront on many of Barrow's projects lately, including Portishead's excellent Third. The influences of German legends Can and Neu! dominate the album, especially on tracks such as "Spinning Top," where the drums recall the jazzy, psychedelic tom work of Can's Jaki Liebezeit. "Egg Dog" evokes King Crimson, with its wonky, sinister melodies, and "Ladies' Mile" betrays a strong John Carpenter flavour to the synth work ― an influence heard loud and clear on Barrows' recent Drokk project with Ben Salisbury. Recorded in one room with very little overdubbing, the lo-fi, often tentative vocals are contrasted with a greater confidence in playing that no doubt came from the trio's extensive touring experience. A standout track, the thrillingly doom-y "Wulfstan II" is tighter, deeper and more successful than anything on Beak>'s debut release, and as an album, >> is twice as great as its predecessor. (Invada)