See yourself reflected in Jeff Beam’s ‘Be Your Own Mirror’

Earlier this year, I posted an article about the Telos EP by Henry Jamison of Portland, Maine, trio The Milkman’s Union. In another fun development, the band’s bassist Jeff Beam has offered up his own brand new solo album, Be Your Own Mirror, and I can’t help but feel drawn in by not only by its musicality, but feelings and concepts that hit close to home.

Beam dredges up the psychedelic ’60s in an artful display like mosaics made of sound. The prismatic quality to his songs is a perfect fit for this season — light and airy like a perfect spring day, yet punctuated by the seeping sadness of approaching a new beginning before you’d written your last ending.

With a philosophical heart, Beam explores the insignificance of living, the deceit of existence, and a growing distaste for city life on his album. I usually don’t pay much mind to lyrics, but I find a great connection to myself in these, such as in “Part One” which closes its vocal half with the line, “Don’t you know people see exactly what they believe me to be.”

Be Your Own Mirror opens with “Whispering Poison in His Ear,” quite possibly one of the most chill-outtable songs I’ve ever heard, and leads into the very Doors-ian second number, “Hospital Patience.” The lyrics play like a fever dream (“Tubes tied to the wall, pretend we don’t hear the screams down the hall at all”) where fear isn’t in the events themselves, but in an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. This concept spills into reality on penultimate tune, “Successful People Who Never Existed,” where Beam seems to lament a life governed by things out of one’s own control. “Outside, it’s not hard to find out it’s a mean old world when everyone has greed,” he sings, before the lyrics funnel into a down in the mouth repetition of “they didn’t listen.”

The psychedelic tones are a perfect complement to the ongoing narrative of questioning reality. And the rainbow it paints across the sky of your mind will have you fairly certain you’ve left your consciousness for a realm of fantasy where you can see colors you never knew existed.

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