‘The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards’ reviewed

❉ A fifteen-track journey into something mesmerisingly otherworldly and out of time.

“Like the best of Ghost Box’s output, The Invisible World Of Beautify Junkyards is immersive, haunting, and filled with little details that reward with each listen.”

Strange weather we’ve been having lately, ha ha, what? One day you can be remarking on the pretty blossoms coming through, the next minute you’re helping dig somebody’s car out of a snowdrift. It’s like the seasons have been given a remix. This is just one of the things that Portugal’s Beautify Junkyards sound like.

Amongst other things, your humble reviewer also notes that they also sound like the following:

  • The Incredible String Band after a lock-in at an electronica festival.
  • A carnival band holding a seance.
  • Os Mutantes testing out an experimental space bicycle with zither spokes.

Flippant bullet points aside, the Lisbon septet’s music is better than these colourful but daft descriptions (although I’m quite proud of that last one), but it’s fair to say that they’re hard to peg – existing in a rarified space somewhere between Acid Folk and bouncy Tropicalia. Their third album, The Invisible World Of Beautify Junkyards is a mixture of acoustic melancholy, subtle electronica, and the keening, floaty vocals of Joao Branco Kyron and Rita Vian. It’s their first for Ghost Box Recordings, who previously released a single in the ‘Other Voices’ series back in 2016. Some of the tracks on Invisible World are barely there, gossamer-thin melodies hanging in mid-air like smoke rings like opener Ghost Dance.

Others like Aquarius are dense webs of Tropicalia percussion, bleeps, echoes, splashes of chiming guitar and Kyron and Vian’s harmonies – intricately woven together like little helixes. It’s a fifteen-track journey into something mesmerisingly otherworldly and out of time. Brief, atmospheric, slightly haunting interludes nestle between songs, some wordless, some in Portuguese.

In the case of the gorgeous, spooked instrumental pastorale Golden Apples of the Sun the band manage to create something that sounds like a folk horror TV theme bleeding into something else and breaking up before your ears. Like the best of Ghost Box’s output, The Invisible World Of Beautify Junkyards is immersive, haunting, and filled with little details that reward with each listen.

And if that endorsement doesn’t grab you, let me reiterate – it sounds like Os Mutantes testing out an experimental space bicycle with zither spokes, which can only be a good thing.


The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards was released on 9th March on CD, LP & download and is available to order from the Ghost Box shop. (LP comes with free download code).

Martin Ruddock has written for ‘Doctor Who Magazine’, the ‘You And Who’ series, and is a regular contributor to We Are Cult. He lives in Bournemouth with a beautiful, very patient woman and teetering piles of records and nerd stuff. He loves writing, and may write something for you if you ask nicely. Martin was recently a guest on Tim Worthington’s podcast Looks Unfamiliar. You can find the episode here.

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