Being There – Breaking Away

written by: January 4, 2013
Release Date: January 29, 2013


The London-based band Being There is making its debut in America in late January with the album Being There. Just as the lyrical content explores nostalgia for the freedom of teenaged years, but is tinged with a hint of sadness, so the overall sound of Being There is alt-pop mixed with subdued melodies that give the album a melancholy tone.

While the entrancing, rolling waves of guitar featured in most tracks on Breaking Away keep it grounded, as opposed to most alt-pop that can be overbearingly energetic, Being There doesn’t bring anything spectacularly new to the table.

In 2011, Being There toured with Noah And The Whale, and its debut album seems like a bad ripoff of the more famous band. It tries to create the same catchy, yet gloomy air that Noah And The Whale perfectly captures, but Breaking Away just falls short.

The vocals, attempting to be subtle and understated, are often buried beneath the instrumentation to the point where one has to strain to hear them. On the opening track, “Punch the Clock,” the unpleasantly crashing guitar riffs completely drown out the vocals, as do the drums in the chorus of “Silent Runners.” If the lyrics can’t be heard over the simple jingling of a hi-hat, they obviously aren’t loud enough.

With that said, the soft vocals do work perfectly in “Over Me,” since the guitar is equally low-key, creating a beautiful, undulating melody. This track, surprisingly, stood out above all others. If this calming, introspective sound is what Being There was going for with its nearly inaudible vocals and softly repetitive guitar, then it hit the nail right on the head at least once.

“Allen Ginsberg” almost captures the same feeling as “Over Me.” The guitar, while slightly more upbeat, is still relaxing as the listener is pulled into its repetitions.

Other notable tracks include the single “The Radio,” which recalls lo-fi ’80s pop with its keyboard hook. While even less original than the majority of Breaking Away, it at least could cater to a mass radio audience, as its name suggests. Similarly, the simple chorus of “Tomorrow” gets under one’s skin and is extremely hummable.

Breaking Away is certainly catchy and makes for good background noise, but Being There needs growth. Though the sound is vaguely pleasing, virtually nothing about this debut album is new, excepting the awesome cover art. Bolder vocals, especially, would be a welcome change in future works.

Being There – Breaking Away tracklist:

1. “Punch The Clock”
2. “Back To The Future”
3. “Breaking Away”
4. “Tomorrow”
5. “To Allen Ginsberg”
6. “To Infinity and Beyond”
7. “17”
8. “Silent Runners”
9. “Over Me”
10. “The Radio”
11. “Up”