(This review first appeared in issue #68 of Shindig! magazine.)
Whether 2017 yields a season of goodwill remains to be seen. This follow up to GospelbeacH's 2015's debut Pacific Surf Line can only help it happen. Its ten tracks of lush, cosmic Americana could only have been made on America's west coast, so the opening lyric cheekily borrowed from The Jam (“In the desert there's a thousand things I want to say to you”) is a neat attention grabber. You know you're listening to a band with serious pop-nous.
GospelBeacH's sound recalls Tom Petty's mix of roots rock and new-wave, along with the grown-up country rock of Chuck Prophet. Though recognising they may be peddling an idealised version of the Golden Sate their take on Cali-rock is seductive – catchy tunes, tasteful song-serving guitar solos and accomplished musicianship that doesn't stray into session-player blandness. Not one for neophiles, but those of us who value quality can bask in its revitalising sun-drenched goodness.