June 14, 2003

Beaumont "tiara"

This record reminds me of what my high school vice-principal referred to the policy on miniskirts: short enough to be appealing, but long enough to cover the subject. It's certainly an apt notion for Beaumont's new mini-album, Tiara. Once again, these English popsters have created magic. It's true that this trio has been compared to another trio of English popsters, Saint Etienne. Not only does Tiara surpass Beaumont's previous records, it also rivals the older and kind of losing-it Saint Etienne. I've seen singer Cath Close compared to Sarah Cracknell, but on Tiara, I'd say that she sounds like a sultry Deborah Harry.

What makes Tiara so wonderful is that it sounds exactly like you'd want a British pop group to sound. It's lush, exotic, extremely intelligent, yet it's poppy, clubworthy, and quite enjoyable. If you want it to be mellow, it's the mellowest, if you want something more upbeat, it certainly provides a nice little tempo. It's never too fast, it's never too slow--it's just right! Tiara has some of the stylish sounds I've heard in ages, too. Heck, if I were to open up a clothing boutique or a hair salon, it's almost certain that Tiara would be in constant circulation.

And why not? The delightful bossanova instrumental "Glance Across the Room" and the delicate jazz passages of "Marian" and "Meantime" would provide the customer with a soothing, relaxing shopping experience, and your store would certainly sound hip with the latest pop hits of "Friends in Flares" and "En Pleurs." And if you want pure dancing in the aisles, all you need to do is play the utterly impressive club-ready hit "Club Class." All in all, these songs really do make you feel wonderful, and they certainly do provide a wonderful ambience. There's also a wonderful little remix of "Friends in Flares" hidden at the end, too.

Eight songs? Too short! Beaumont's masterminds Paul Stewart and Keith Girdler know the value of time and can make a three minute song sound like a ten minute symphony, and though Tiara may be a short little record, it certainly feels like an evening in the coolest lounge in New York City. Tiara is certainly a record you should take the time to seek out. It's a record that will certainly cool you down during this hot hot heat. At the very least, it'll help cure your disappointment in the last Saint Etienne record.

--Joseph Kyle

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