Nodding in time to Leeds trio Beards is pretty impossible. As this, their super limited debut album (there’s only 350 copies being pressed) proves, they’re a band who don’t believe in 4/4, standard beats and verse/chorus/verse niceties. A punk-band-doing-progressive-jazz, they define what it is to be manic. ‘Tried Searching (Search Trying)’ is a little funky as it dares to settle into a repetitive groove, but it’s a rare moment – most of ‘Brick by Boulder’ is full of free-formed jams that change in pace and tone as soon as you think you’ve worked them out, while singer Claire Adams sharply yells along to make Beards sound like Plug used to: simple and aggressive, and yet fascinatingly complex. And while ‘Brick by Boulder’ is certainly a challenge, often with grating vocals, its musicality does make it violently appealing. You just can’t click your fingers to it.

By Stuart Stubbs

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