‘Beards Are Back‘ we are informed, and thus commences another hairy adventure from Adelaide’s The Beards. Incredulously this is their fourth studio album and far from curbing their enthusiasm, the band has pursued new extremes by releasing a record covered in hair. Yes, this album has a beard.
‘I Like Beards‘ the band announces, just to remove any confusion that may have developed over the years. Over an AC/DC style chant and raging saxophone solo we are bombarded with a vitriolic attack on numerous things considered vastly inferior to beards. Tropical sunsets, footy, sex, water, food, sitting, standing, day and night are just a few of the topics disdainfully belittled by frontman Joann Beardraven who punctuates his diatribe with the emphatic declaration “beards are good, beards are great, everything else I fucking hate” Excessive? Absolutely, but after three albums that does seem the logical direction to be heading.
‘All The Bearded Ladies‘, with it’s cheesy synth is a pretty blatant nod to Van Halen but fun all the same. From here ‘The Bearded Pledge‘ (” defend my beard in every situation, talk about beards in every conversation”) sees the band morph into extremist cult territory, as they have previously threatened to do.
Beardraven briefly becomes possessed by The Bee Gees with an impressive falsetto for the sleazy lounge number ‘Touch Me On The Beard‘ before we get a dose of sultry blues in ‘I Have A Beard And It Looks Really Good‘. New realms of silliness are reached in the almost irritatingly catchy ‘Bit Of My Beard‘, a tale which culminates in the unfortunate union between excrement and facial hair.
Whilst The Beard Album provides an ample supply of chuckles and disbelieving headshakes, full appreciation of The Beards really does require a live show. Over the course of an album their tomfoolery does hit occasional flat spots but on stage they have a hilarious repertoire of theatrics and banter to accompany the songs. A crowd full of swaying, swinging bearded men helps too. Regardless, in a musical world that often takes itself too seriously, we are blessed to have The Beards.