If I were to find myself caught up in a dream — one where the sand beneath my feet was soft as pillows and the sky overhead surged in shifting iridescence, where the wind hit my skin in rhythmic pulses and the palm trees swayed gently holding hands — the ocean would sing to me. And I think the ocean would sound a lot like Heart Beach.
Heart Beach are an ocean pop band from Hobart, Tasmania. I was lucky enough to get to mix them a few months ago at a show at the Artful Dodger last time they were through the Queen City. Since then the trio has been covering a lot of Canadian ground playing shows, perhaps most notably including the legendary Calgary festival Sled Island next week.
It has long been a handy offshoot of Saskatchewan’s geography that we get the spill of acts either on their way to or not accepted to Sled Island. I’ve seen specific events organized in tandem (or perhaps in opposition) to this infamous festival. I think Sled’s M.O. leads a lot of people to think of the music as being ultra-trendy, bordering upon unlistenable and can be a real dividing line for people when it comes to discussing independent music. In some cases I think people’s reservations about the music at Sled probably rings true, but like with most things, we take the good with the bad. If you’re sifting through Sled Island acts that are in and around the prairies in the coming week, Heart Beach is one worth checking out.
I’ll admit I have never heard the term Ocean Pop used to describe anything before. But after previewing a couple tracks from Heart Beach, “Brittle” and “Sleeping,” I think I get it.
“Brittle,” one of two preview track from their album Kiss Your Face, has a summery sort of groove that makes me want to do a bad version of the twist. It has me constantly bobbing my head back and forth and I can see it being the perfect soundtrack to a late night beach bonfire. “Sleeping” has echoing drums that blend with shimmery held guitars and wash over me like waves break on the shore.
For me, what’s mostly interesting is what’s behind the ocean vibes. There are these frenetic sounds and a buzzing kind of darkness hanging out off in the distance. When they perform live, it’s especially apparent. They smoulder and stir. They gently groove but routinely burst forth with a fury of energy. They are coal being squeezed into diamonds and exploding into light.
Catch some light this week, June 16th in Regina at the German Club with An Ant And An Atom and Foonyap, and June 19th in Saskatoon at the Capitol Music Club with SuperMoon and the Sips.
– Dana Rempel