Most people are familiar with half of the late, great Southern California band, Mirza. Steven R. Smith of solo and Hala Strana fame and of course Glenn Donaldson from Ivytree & Skygreen Leopards are the names you probably know. However the other two members of the band, Brian Lucas and Mark Williams, haven't fallen off the face of the earth completely. Father Beard is a new duo between this two, and this self-released CD-R debut is a great start toward a new horizon.
Over the course of the 11 tracks here, there's a variety of styles and samples presented. Half the duo is based in Thailand and the other in Spain, and these influences, especially the former, are evident. Samples of Thai music give some tracks a true Eastern feel that is complemented by the instrumentation. At times it reminds me of some radio recordings on the Sublime Frequencies label. This is especially true of the opening track, "Siamese Track."
The reverb-laden guitars on "A Love-flicker" float like feathers in the night sky. It's whimsical and beautiful. The instrumental guitar passages have a feeling of something somewhere between Loren Connors and Ivytree, with outside sounds gently creeping into the mix. It's absolutely wonderful and leads perfectly into "Glove For a Maiden Hand." The same atmosphere pervades this song, and the same guitar tone is also present. But vocals bring something new to the mix, like an archaic counterpoint to Donaldson's Ivytree. It's stripped down and removed from modern conveniences. The simplicity is its greatest strength.
Father Beard are a band I'm extremely excited to watch. I can only wonder what they'll offer up next. "Tokens, Then Light" is an excellent debut and really shows the integral role Lucas and Williams played in the seminal Mirza. Father Beard's CD-R may be a bit obscure at this point, but trust me when I say it's well worth seeking out. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (10 July, 2006)