Twenty-six songs? Certainly, a good portion of these would be just filler and noise, right? Wrong. What Let It Beard, the latest album from Boston Spaceships, accomplishes is taking you on a journey that leaves you feeling as if you just had an out-of-body experience. No, there weren’t any drugs used in the writing of this review.
With two-thirds of the band having been in Guided by Voices (Robert Pollard, Chris Slusarenko) and the other from The Decemberists (John Moen), Boston Spaceships have some strong songwriting capabilities. Finding these strong tracks isn’t as hard as you would believe, even with so many to choose from. Fused together well are punk (“You Just Can’t Tell”, “The Vicelords”) and pop (“Make a Record for Lo-Life”) and the echoing vocals by Pollard, who is truly one of the better songwriters out there. While many of his stories and themes may leave listeners confused, the music really is what carries this album. Very few bands could successfully mix punk, acoustic guitars, and indie fuzz together, which, at times, makes you wonder if this is really two different bands doing a split album–one the hard, low-fi punk band, the other the soft ballad side.
Let It Beard does not lack moments of intimacy. “The Ballad of Bad Whiskey”, “Chevy Marigold”, and “No Steamboats” all slow down the tempo to keep the band in check from getting too out of hand. The single “Christmas Girl” has very original instrumentation, as the bass line goes walking and horns triumphantly appear.
The title track features the chorus “Let it beard, and get all weird.” Perhaps this was the blueprint for this whole experience. Because that’s exactly what it is: weird. Luckily for the band and for those who endure the trip, “weird” is a good thing, and Let It Beard might be the weirdest but most original album of the year.