A few college buddies are meandering along the coast of the North Sea after a night of pub hopping and general drunken fun. The beach leads these hungover friends to a dilapidated beach house, complete with “STAY OUT” signs, overgrown pool, and a general sense of unease as the sun slowly rises. The faint, newfound light gives the neo-modern structure complicated shadows and the feeling as if the home were beckoning to the friends to jump the fence for a better view.
What do the friends do? I don’t know. You see, this scenario was the real life inspiration for the new Repeated Viewing long player called The Beach House. Alan Sinclair and some pals came across, in his words, “a kind of 70’s brutalist structure with a creepy overgrown pool and big “Keep Out” signs – very strong LEAVE THIS PLACE vibe”, during a hungover morning walk years ago. The abandoned structure planted the seed that grew into the imagined score to a film about a haunted beach house. After years of tinkering and bringing the concept to a whole we now have the amazing The Beach House to give us nightmares.
Each time out, Alan Sinclair changes up gears a bit with Repeated Viewing. Sometimes it’s queasy 70s horror exploitation that influences the vision and sound. Stuff like Fulci and Joe D’Amato. Sometimes more classic Hammer Horror influences which direction Repeated Viewing goes. This time around, The Beach House takes on more of a psychic horror vibe. Something like a cross between Nicholas Roeg, Don Coscarelli, or Ken Russell. The album floats sonically in the early 80s. Piano, guitar, bass, and drums coalesce nicely with synth to give the whole record an early 80s pop feel.
Something like “Visions of the Dusk” could pass for an instrumental from The Fixx’ Reach The Beach, while “Across The Dunes” opens as water splashes against the sea wall. Wavering synths roll in and set the stage for the record as a whole. It’s a very bright, clean sound that distinguishes itself from what’s come before in the Repeated Viewing canon. “Surface Tension_Accept Your Fate” lays down some serious melodic dread. Sort of a sonic battle of wills, between the dark and light. You can imagine a slow, steadicam shot as one of our house guests makes their way thru the clean angles and deathly white halls of the haunted home in question. Of course, “Looking For Help” lays some serious psychic dread on us, reaching back to John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi vibes.
Over the course of The Beach House, Alan Sinclair paints a vivid musical picture of what it would be like to have wandered across this beachfront home with a checkered, haunted past. As usual, Sinclair succeeds in pulling us from the everyday and dropping us in this haunted and quite haunting musical world. It’s another stunning record from one of the best and imaginative composers working today.
Get lost in The Beach House today. It’s out now via Lunaris Records.
8.2 out of 10
Editor’s note: Another huge aspect to Repeated Viewing’s work is the album art. This time around it’s Hauntlove for the win. Exquisitely Gothic and classic. Go buy some prints from Justin Miller here.