For most of us, Beijing connotes the capital of China. And some of us may even know that the word Beijing literally means Northern Capital; it's counterpart Nanjing meaning Southern Capital. There is, however, another Beijing. They are the alternative rock band from New Haven, Connecticut. A throw-back of the 90s, the band rocks-out the standard blend of big chorus and distorted guitar, accompanied by spacious vocals. The members of the band have never performed or even traveled to the capital city of China. In spite of this, the name Beijing for them sounded big enough to grow.
The four musicians met a few years ago with a little help from Craigslist. Their new EP Night addresses the typical themes of love, loss, and hope. And yes, heartbreak can only be understood when one has a chance to look back. The album was produced their way, meaning they took their time tweaking it until they were satisfied with the results. Slowing down the development of the album gave the four men the time to create with a comfortable degree of trust.
The ominous album cover was photographed by David McCarthy. Although it looks like an abandoned theatre, the structure was once a sanatorium, a place where diseased children, in the 1900s, went to die. The Undercliff State Health facility, which is located in Meriden, Connecticut, was closed decades ago, but the estate still stands fascinating those who have dared to trespass the premises. Surrounded by thirty foot fences, the curious have found ways to break the silence of the first clinic in the United States to accommodate patients with deadly diseases. For the band Beijing, the album cover image is both beautiful and haunting.
While each track smoothly segues from one song to another, the dynamics between the loved and beloved is punctuated. The lyrics run the gamut of unrequited love, destructive love, and unconditional love all musically arranged by guitarist Thom Smith, bassist Jack Hoopingarner, drummer Bill Pruchnicki, and vocalist Eric Thornberg.
The EP is cathartic. It tries to make sense of the conditions of love. Love, for the band Beijing, is delicate and as permanent as broken glass. It becomes violent and, at times, provides new wings to be carried away. Lyricist Eric Thornberg reiterates the entire album in the last piece. The song "Seasons" poetically weaves the hope component into the narrative. Summarizing the track with lines that imply growth comes by looking back. Love--is never balanced, and a lover will always walk into the rain with the person loved. Surrender to love and begin to realize that we never die alone. We can only hope that those children at Undercliff State Hospital realized this too.
You can listen to Beijing's EP Night on BandCamp