Escapements. Aside from its recalling of Dory’s ‘es-capé’ from Finding Nemo, there’s something strangely clunky about that word. It has nothing to do with the verb it sounds like, instead a vital part of keeping up clockwork inside a watch, a sentry trying to monitor its own responsibility despite decaying accuracy.
Brooklyn duo Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett – or just Beacon – seem to have taken this all a bit literally, for better or worse. Opener IM U lurches forward like the lone ticking of a grandfather clock in an empty hall, punctuated with menacing synths. It’s a far cry from their more club-based ambitions on previous work like Feeling’s Gone, but with Backbone then manifesting itself like Dali’s melting timepiece, it’s clear the duo have a larger intent here. There’s manipulation of time signatures and beat patterns, and it’s all delivered with effortless creativity.
In an odd sense, they shine while plumbing the very depths of dark-dance. Of course, there are moments when time stops – both in a good sense (Cure, their frenzied D&B-leaning standout) and in a resolutely watch-tapping way (Running Out), but the soundscape Beacon have crafted here is so deliciously nocturnal that it’s hard not to get completely submerged in it.
That swirling darkness does get a tad claustrophobic at times, and Beacon could do with letting the mood breathe a little bit. Like an escapement wearing out over its age, so too does the record eventually grind; however the time it does spend with us is very much a snapshot of how bright this Beacon can be.