For the last two years, under the skies of New Haven, Connecticut, Beijing have been honing their music to an effortless chemistry, and with the release of their album Night, it is obvious they have succeeded. Following a path similar to the one taken by statemates Chris Carrabba and Rivers Cuomo, the band have shaped a bold rock sound defined by their affection for honest lyrics and layered instruments.
“Acrobat” launches the album with nearly unnerving clean guitars and singer Eric Thornberg’s woeful vocals. When it escalates, thanks to their stack of sound, the band sound big even through headphones. “Wax Wings” further shows the band’s hugeness, owing to tom-heavy drumbeats and fuzzy chords underneath echoing cries, as if an eagle’s flight were to be put into sound. Even during the more delicate sections, it seems huge, and the listener’s interest is not lost; rather, they are moments to catch your breath before diving into the next section of colossal sound. The anthemic “The Sun Will Set” slowly crescendos from soaring guitars to an arena rock solo, all within a terse two minutes––a testament to the band’s ability.
There is a softer side to Beijing, however. “Into the Rain” is a slow-paced indie tune that displays the band at their best, powerful vocals paired with distorted strings a la early My Chemical Romance. The beautiful interlude almost immediately opens up to the band going crazy behind the guitar-led melody. Moments like these when the band hold back are just as memorable as the all-out sections. “Let Down” is an acoustic-led ballad that finds Thornberg taking a slightly more stripped-down approach to vocals, like a raw pop-punk tune without the cliched lyrics.
Part of the reason behind Beijing’s quality is their range. At some points they sound like a Dustin Kensrue-fronted I the Mighty while other times they could be Manchester Orchestra covering The Killers. There is something about the band that somehow makes them stand out from the indie rock detritus piling up, and while it’s hard to place, it assuredly makes Night worth adding to your collection.