You know that feeling, when you were a child, running outside in the park with an unbounded and near reckless abandonment. Some days felt like forever, where you’d forget to eat and sometimes have so much fun you’d almost forget to breathe. That kind of unabashed enthusiasm dies at some point and as we get older we only see it in glimpses. Like when the snow falls for the first night, and you trudge out with too few clothes on and throw snowballs at each other hidden behind parked cars until you can’t feel your hands anymore, or when you are at a gig, and the music is so relentlessly furious that you lose yourself and your inhibitions to it. Listening to Tropes by Crushed Beaks kind of gives me that feeling.
The hazy intro of the EP opener Feelers masks what follows, but as the drums slowly push through the dawn mist the listener is treated to the kind of adrenaline rush that usually comes with government warnings. The London two-piece creating an intensely raucous yet strangely euphoric slice of fuzz-pop which bounces around and off the walls at 350mph. It’s nearly impossible to listen to it and sit still — go on try it. It’s a breathless kind of sensory deprivation buzzing around your head, but there is a melody in the vocals – vocals which become a third instrument thrown into the heady mix, incoherent and yet somehow offering more meaning through human empathy than many a one-liner can provide.
There is no letting off just yet, as the heartbeat starts to slow down at the end of Feelers the title track, Tropes comes crashing in, a buoyant beach ball bobbing on a crowd of thousands. The chorus has the end of a festival euphoria; uplifting, urgent and essential. Like a scuzzy shot of life into the arm, reverberated guitars are flung around the track as Alex Morris’s drumming becomes more and more frenziedly demented.
Lies slows the pace down somewhat, seeing Crushed Beaks in as close as we can call reflective mode. It’s a much needed breather and showcases the bands talent with a cute and earnest melody in the vocals as Matthew Poile sings “We keep on telling ourselves the same lies, it’s fine, it’s fine”. As the song breaks down at the 2.30 minute mark a hazy nostalgia takes over. ‘Remember those days when all we did was run around like crazed fools? Look at us now.’
They finish the EP off with Day Residue, which blends the cloying noise of the opening tracks with the aforementioned melody to create something almost anthemic and leaving you wanting more. In total, Tropes comes in at under 15 minutes, but just like childhood, time doesn’t seem to matter. Just remember to breathe.