October 16th, 2015 | Album reviews

Pacific Surf Line
Alive Naturalsound

Rising from the resin of bands such as Beachwood Sparks, Further, and The Tyde, GospelbeacH’s debut LP Pacific Surf Line reminds the listener that there is still stardust to be found in the search for the endless summer. The perfectly dosed tracks here toe the line between hippie sunshine daydream, Sunset Strip wooziness, and high-and-lonesome sadness. Featuring members Brent Rademaker (Beachwood Sparks), Jason Soda (Everest), Neal Casal (Ryan Adams and the Cardinals), Kip Boardman, and guest Nelson Bragg (Brian Wilson), the band works less like a supergroup than a cohesive unit locked into a groove, eye to eye, upturned chin to chin. Fans of Beachwood Sparks will break into a smile when “Mick Jones” kicks up its heels and boot scoots. “Your Freedom” features some nice flute and jazzy guitar harmonics that recall Fairport Convention. But the album really drops into gear on “Southern Girl,” a bruising sandstorm of a song that peaks with a whiplash of a guitar solo before receding to a female voice counting upwards from “71, 72, 73, 74…” It’s as if she is our guide through the breakdown palace of the history of L.A. music, reeling through the years: the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Doors, Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles. But ultimately, the song “Out of My Mind” romantically encapsulates the vibe of the album: one equally a facsimile of a postcard from the death of the hippie dream as much as a secret transmission over the wires of hope and sunlight with its eager refrain “…it’s only just begun…it’s only just begun…” Let’s hope this is just the beginning for GospelbeacH and not an end.

—Kegan Pierce Simons