Brooklyn duo Beacon share their long-awaited fourth studio album ‘Along The Lethe’ which is out now via independent imprint, Apparent Movement. The album is paired with the official video for ‘Harm’ directed by Dalena Tran.
‘Harm’ is a slow-burning roller that’s equal parts slinky UK garage and ambient synth-pop, one of the new record’s most powerful, poignant genre combos. Synths flow beneath a windswept scene marked by punchy drum clatter, threatening to break out from just under the surface and set it all ablaze. Through the smouldering melody, Thomas Mullarney III wonders about the uncertainty of life in a pandemic and how disease invades both the body and mind: “I’m falling back in time / Wondering if you were ever mine / What half will I become?”
“During the pandemic, ecology was an invading force and ‘Harm’ is a manifestation of this psychology,” Thomas says of the song’s thematic inspiration. “The influence of disease on human civilization is eternal, but nothing has been more impactful than Malaria. It is estimated that half of all humankind, everyone who has lived, has died of the parasite whose name translates to bad air.”
It also manifests in the music video directed by artist Dalena Tran, a flickering burst of dreamlike computer-generated images. From lone mosquito to fisherman to the wider public, the piece presents a seamless trail of infectious disease in a way that’s both poetic and unsettling. We’re left with a seemingly idyllic lakeside view with undulating colours and geometry, while a grimly rigid piano melody fills the air with the tension of a known but unseen danger.
Beacon wrote ‘Along the Lethe’, during the time of extreme uncertainty in the pandemic, with the band explaining: “I was haunted by this feeling of history intruding on our reality as lockdown descended on NYC, I was reading a book called The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth about the apocalyptic aftermath of the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, written in a ‘shadow tongue’ combining old and modern English. This uncanniness followed me through the pandemic.” Composed and produced mainly in quarantine, Along the Lethe is an album as much about the allure of forgetting tragedy as it is the need to maintain our connections to the past. It’s no stretch to say Along the Lethe is Beacon’s most eclectic, expansive album to date. As Jacob describes it, “It feels like a record without restraints.”