From The Oregonian
Pop Goes the Bridge
By Robert Ham
It should come as little surprise that Portland songwriter and producer Ross Beach was able to pull in singers from across a wide spectrum of musical disciplines for his latest project, Ross Island Bridge.
Beach is a co-founder of PDX Pop Now!, the free all-ages annual music festival that brings together bands and musicians of all stripes for a weekend celebration of the Portland scene. And as leader of the power-pop group Ross and the Hellpets — a band that has been gracing local stages for almost a decade — he’s also gotten to know a fair number of fellow performers.
With all these connections in place, Beach was able to pull in singers as varied as Kaitlyn ni Donovan, the breathy leader of shoegazer popsters the High Violets; folk phenom Nick Jaina; and beatlesesque crooner Pat Kearns of Blue Skies for black Hearts.
What makes the Ross Island Bridge album titled “Volume 1: The Process Is Now the Work,” such an eye-opener is quite simply how it sounds. Abandoning the acoustic-driven indie pop that has marked Beach’s solo efforts and the fuzzy rock of the Hellpets, he’s cranked up the synthesizers and drum machines for a bracing electro-pop approach, akin to Magnetic Fields and the Postal Service.
Beach does a remarkable job of crafting each song to complement its particular singer. He makes Chris Robley’s gruff vocals sound soulful, thanks to a rumbling disco beat and whimpering keyboard. And both ni Donovan and Adrienne Hatkin (leader of Autopilot is for Lovers) put in knee-bucklingly beautiful performances aided by shimmering music that feels like the work of a lost 1980s technopop act.
Artist: Ross Island Bridge
Label: A Bouncing Space
Web site: www.rossbeach.com
Coming up: CD-release performance, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Backspace 115 N.W. Fifth Ave.
From The Portland Mercury
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Ross Beach has a hell of a resume’. He’s frontman for Ross and the Hellpets and a co-founder of PDX Pop Now!, and he collaborated with a number of musicians from the Elephant 6 collective-even Neutral Milk Hotel-back in the day. Now he’s putting out an album under the moniker Ross Island Bridge, taking its name from the familiar Portland river-span. The album, Volume 1: The Process Is Now the Work, is Beach’s laptop electronica with the guest voices of Portland’s best and brightest, including Nick Jaina, Grey Anne, and Jon Ragel of Boy Eats Drum Machine. Several of the album’s collaborators will be on hand to celebrate its release, and the likes of Blue Skies for Black Hearts’ Pat Kearns and Leviethan’s Levi Cecil will elevate the sometimes chintzy sound of Beach’s watery backdrops for an evening that’ll pair some of the Portland music scene’s best singer/songwriters with one of its most prominent figureheads. NL
From The Willamette Week
[INDIE ROSS] Ross and the Hellpets frontman Ross Beach has chosen, as his new nom de disque, the familiar handle Ross Island Bridge. Joining him as vocalists–both on his debut album under that name, and onstage tonight to celebrate its release–are Blue Skies for Black Hearts leader Pat Kearns, a couple members of Heroes & Villains (one of each, perhaps?), the singers of Minmae and Autopilot is for Lovers, and perennial Portland fave Kaitlyn ni Donovan, each of whom will perform their own songs alongside their contributions to Beach’s new Bridge. Ross on! JEFF ROSENBERG. 8 pm. Backspace, 115 NW 5th Ave., 248-2900. $6. All ages.