Striking up a sort of punk agitation and the harmonic chirrup of bands like The Cure, Beat Strings glide through a stack of spacey, enjoyable songs on Fang in Rain.
Having rocked their asses off on the same stages as Cold War Kids, The Gaslight Anthem, Modern Life is War, and House of Large Sizes, Beat Strings have a certain rock pedigree to live up to. And they pull it off fantastically, dripping pure sex, drugs, and rock and roll all over each innovative pluck of guitar and each hard-hitting bass line. Adam Bolts’ voice stretches out over the whole lot, catching the fissure between Robert Smith’s apprehension and the assurance of David Bowie.
Fang in Rain, the Iowa band’s second record, is a gathering of floating tunes that poke through slivers of punk, post-punk, glam, indie, and possibly the always-elusive post-glam.
“The Truth” opens the record with a harmonious throwdown, laying out a swift guitar romp that would be a perfect fit at a junior high prom. One can almost picture Bolts and Co. strutting and swearing under a showy banner and a set of scorching lights while some smartass adolescent sneaks around to spike the punch.
It is that sort of glee and cunning that drives Fang in Rain. The band pulls around each track with never-ending energy and ache, allowing their true selves to blast through in a flourish of guitars, keys, bass, drums, and vocals. Resisting movement when these cats are doing their thing is simply futile.
Take a listen to “Mornings Were Never Good to You,” for instance. Bolts is pure shoegaze now, grousing and bitching with agitation and desperation. The guitar commotion and beautiful atmosphere conspire for one hell of a beautiful pop rock song.
The glossy, noisy, fuzzy “Machines Keep the Rhythm” bangs and crashes hard. Bolts struts, sputtering out a fist-pumping anthem and veering up into his falsetto before plunging his voice on a roller coaster of blistering sex appeal. It is the record’s best track, a heaving and roasting heap of hot rock glory driven by guitar so succulent that it all feels totally fucking wrong. Dig that fadeout.