“You are an Ocean” is the final track off Beams’ forthcoming release Teach Me To Love. Before co-front woman Heather Mazhar comes in for the chorus, her and Anna Mernieks’ voices combining to strike exactly the bittersweet balance the lyrics describe. It’s a fitting line given that Beams is a band that’s embraced contrasts from the start—even their name has opposing connotations, calling up images of something both solid and permeable, light and dark. With Teach Me To Love, their second full-length album and follow-up to 2015 John McEntire (Tortoise, Yo La Tengo, Broken Social Scene) 7” The Gutters and the Glass, the band’s latest was recorded at Toronto’s Union Sound Co by Ian Gomes (Hooded Fang, Odonis Odonis).
Teach Me To Love finds Beams much more at home in the realm of psych folk, a genre whose dual nature manages to encompass the sprawling beauty of these new songs. Mining her experiences and her imagination in equal measure, Mernieks’ lyrics turn the everyday into the unbelievable, blurring reality, but only at its edges. “My Second Time At The Mountains” wonders if you can ever experience a “first” again, whether it’s the awe of seeing mountains for the first time, or the way you loved someone in the beginning. “Apartment In My Head” is a spiralling, sinister tune propelled by Mernieks’ banjo, which plucks prettily as ever but brings with it a sense of deep foreboding, calling to mind acts like fellow Torontonians Timber Timbre, who evoke a similar sonic atmosphere.