Küchensession #96 | Jack Beauregard

JACK BEAUREGARD ON THE WEB: www.jackbeauregard.com

Berlin in march 2013. It’s still winter. I tell myself: „Snow doesn’t matter. It’s even beautifully white. The cold and the frozen damp are merely celestial whims, which need not concern you.“ I am travelling by bike. In my coat pocket is a media player and I have slipped a huge pair of headphones on over my cap. I hear a bass sound, as warm and friendly as a blue whale’s Hello. My body temperature rises by two tenths of a degree Celsius and the snow on Schönhauser Allee shines all the more vividly. I hear reverberating guitars and angel choirs from far away. Above them rises a voice: „It’s going down, it’s going down, it’s going down.“ Why? What’s going down the drain? Us? The world? Have you been to the future? What did you see?

The voice belongs to Daniel Schaub. He and Pär Lammers form the electronic- songwriter super-duo Jack Beauregard. Their new album is entitled „Irrational“. I’m listening to it now, out here in the muffled city, and I want to hear it when I’m sitting in that shuttle to Mars, waving goodbye and „see you not so soon“ to our gray-blue planet. Because this music is made for today and tomorrow: It allows us to look up into space now, and tomorrow to think back in a dream of something that was good and exciting in the early teenage years of the second millennium.

Jack Beauregard was founded in 2006 in Amsterdam, where Pär Lammers and Daniel Schaub studied. They came up with their first song ideas on a joint trip through Scandinavia, before mutating into the indietronic answer to the Beatles in Daniel’s one-bedroom apartment in Amsterdam. Their first album „Everyone Is Having Fun“ was released in 2009 on Tapete Records. This very catchy and yet fairly rough mishmash of styles afforded Jack Beauregard their first successes.

But the real momentum began in 2011, after the two relocated to Berlin, with the release of „The Magazines You Read“. The album and the first single „You Drew A Line“ made all of those who still have any feelings listen up. Finally it was once again possible to cry while dancing (or the reverse). Jack Beauregard’s flawless pop brought them truck loads of critical acclaim, enthusiastic devotion and concerts as support for Hurts, Gotye, Mika and Boy.

After working their magic onstage in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, England and France, Pär Lammers and Daniel Schaub began creating their so-called difficult third album, allowing themselves an entire year. „Irrational“ originated in Berlin, within the four walls of their Jaqueline Bellevue Studio. For the first time, Jack Beauregard worked with guest musicians, recording drums and woodwinds, with the wonderful Valeska Steiner from Boy contributing backing vocals on some of the songs.

Daniel Schaub and Pär Lammers tirelessly hone the perfect synthesis of acoustic and programmed elements. The effort, nerves, patience, relationships, friendships and biorhythms that were sacrificed for this record are nowhere to be heard. The music is inexplicably unencumbered. But it must be said here: It is a great achievement to write, record and produce such colorful and multifaceted music.

With „Irrational“, Jack Beauregard have succeeded in allowing the listener to completely forget what instruments are being played, which words are saying what, and in what style this music might be categorized. They move elegantly between song and track, between the straight bass drum and the „I love you, I love you not“ – a melancholy dilemma that can be found within every melodic phrase of this record. With their third album, Pär Lammers and Daniel Schaub have achieved the kind of independence and universality that, for example, can bring an author to distrust his words and make him forget his work. The music says, „Put the pen away, shut down the computer, listen closely, dream on.“

A dream is not a bad analogy for what holds the ten songs on „Irrational“ together. The music and lyrics play with memories of situations that never happened, yet seem more real than everything that actually did happen. „This ship is on fire, but it’s leaving the harbor“ sings Daniel like a man who was on board, but has no idea how he managed to reach land unscathed. „Not That Kind“, the first single from the album, describes how it mostly is: „It’s not that bad, it’s not that kind.“ This state between euphoria and despondency – one might say the normal state, which is good because it contains all shades within itself – has rarely been celebrated as beautifully as in this song.

The entire album travels through time, exploring the styles of the last, say, 50 years: The Gaussian blur of Simon and Garfunkel, the rhythmic framework of „Rockit“ era Herbie Hancock, the nursery rhyme melodies of Robert Palmer and Nik Kershaw, the magic of great pop albums from „Rumours“ to „Thriller“ to „Alphabetical“. All of that shines through the music like the sun through the parchment. Yet there is never a fence post in sight: Jack Beauregard have internalized their heroes far too much to be eclectic. On „Irrational“ Pär Lammers and Daniel Schaub have simply made their music, showing everywhere they have ever been. And we can dance to it or we can cry to it. Or both.

Addendum

Slowly i’m starting to believe in time travel: While wandering about on the Internet i discover a photo that is hanging in a canadian museum. It shows a crowd of people around 1940. And right in the midst of it is a tall hipster in sunglasses, a printed shirt and woolen scarf: Daniel Schaub! A few days later i watch „Circus“ by Charlie Chaplin for about the hundred and fiftieth time. In this film from 1928 there is a street scene where a figure in a long coat can very briefly be seen walking through the picture, talking on a mobile phone. Poor disguise, Pär Lammers! I’ve got you guys!

(Francesco Wilking)

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