Belonging to the indie label BIRTHDIY, Floral Sounds, aka Gabe Beckles, is a Cincinnati-based purveyor of dreamy bedroom pop and fervent Winona Ryder admirer. Leaning on simple 4/4, retro sounding programmed drum beats and a lo-fi production style, he has produced some inarguably enjoyable little indie pieces. Tending to sit between the 2 and 3-minute mark, tracks are concise yet manage to create a lilting and unrushed feel.
Sitting at a more conventional 3:34, this week’s Synchedin Spotlight, Beach Ghost enables you to really cast yourself adrift. Taken from the 2020 EP, When I Was a Wallflower, the track opens crisply with retro, chorus-laden electric guitar. Layers of twanging strings accumulate to create that iconically indie jangly guitar sound, before machine-precise drums drive us into the main body of the track. A light reverb on the snare gives the percussion a wonderfully 80s characteristic, contributing to the retro nature of the song.
The relentlessly straight rhythm of the bass takes the place of the freer guitars to accompany the stylistically lackadaisical vocals. Fittingly linear, the vocal melody follows the simplistic theme that runs throughout each instrumental part. But, the beauty of Beach Ghost is in the sum of all its non-complex parts. The stripping and reintroducing of layers provides the otherwise repetitive backing track with an element of interest, tension and release.
Lyrical minimalism matches the overall aesthetic of Floral Sounds; uncomplicated, reminiscent, and simultaneously calming and joyous. This is the audio equivalent of early 90s shaky handheld camcorder footage of adolescents enjoying their pre-adult responsibilities years.
Although the main melody is not deviated from, the delivery becomes stronger and more decisive as the track comes to a close. Beach Ghost ends will all its musical elements intact, halting abruptly and leaving us with that unrelenting hi-hat still ringing in our ears.
This track, along with the rest of Floral Sounds’ EP, would sit comfortably within an indie film soundtrack, or as accompaniment to any visually vintage video project.