MAMMAL, or Gary Beauvais is an artist that has been in the recording world since 1996, but his first noted release actually occurring under the MAMMAL moniker came in 2001, with Other Realms. As Beauvais had started to evolve as an artist, so did the MAMMAL name as it shifted away from the more industrial noise of his first record, and really started to shine through on his later released work. The album, Lake & Sand would bridge the gap between his critically acclaimed album, Lonesome Drifter, and Fringe Residue would be a look even further into the mind of MAMMAL.
Staying in the similar noise style, only adapting to a more authentic sounds than previously released, MAMMAL describes the album as his, “most raw and personal album.” This is immensely apparent from even just the first track on Lake & Sand as the record feels gritty, disturbed, but ultimately releasing as Beauvais describes the album was recorded sometime in early 2009 up until the late 2011 and was not even mastered until 2013. As the personal accounts here, mixed with the incredibly bleak instrumentals are downright enticing at first listen. It is only until the third, fourth, fifth, and eventually tenth listen to where the lyrics start to shine through more gallantly. This is a wonderful decision though as most of Lake & Sand is primarily instrumental, and demands to be heard with headphones to catch every detail inside the complexity of tracks like, “Dusty Lady,” “Hydrocodone,” and “Death Perception.”
Subtly meandering in with the starting track, “The Lake,” an acoustic guitar is the main scrap in the musical puzzle that plays in tandem with Beauvais’s voice, that is heavily reverbed and edited to give off an ethereal sound to it. The guitar is also heavily edited, but sounds quite natural and clean as well, almost working in similar chemistry to make the track feel like a sunrise, or a gentle beginning to an immense pain that will follow. The acoustic guitar featured on Lake & Sand is going to be the largest weapon that MAMMAL has in his arsenal, as it is a complete tone piece that creates most of the atmosphere.
Following on the pain described before, MAMMAL opens one of the tracks, “His Song,” with immensely depressed lyrics, “Would you still love me if I died by my own hand? Would you find someone else who’s better than I am?” MAMMAL uses these incredibly lugubrious subjects like suicide, nature, and the everlasting end to his advantage to create these somber moments within his music where he can connect with the listener and make an instant contact into that person’s head where most other artists have trouble breaking that barrier. As MAMMAL continues through Lake & Sand, the tracks become continually daunting, until coming almost full circle with the last act where MAMMAL brings everything to a screeching halt and goes back to the acoustic guitar and vocal aspect.
Final tracks like, “Five Of Cups,” “Half Sun,” and “Sand,” start to come into their own with MAMMAL describing in “Sand”’s chorus or rephrase, “In the end we are all just sand.” Which is an existential way of looking as life and seems to be the theme of most of MAMMAL’s discography. Also his work with different record labels like ORMOLYCKA, Animal Disguise, and even when releasing his work independently through home release, he still manages to maintain a presence without fully being there. He is present on social media, and while his posts are quite frequent, it appears MAMMAL is not quite there. He has gone on tours and different sets, but not entirely too much is known about MAMMAL.
His release, Lake & Sand touches a barrier, a personal one, but a barrier as is. The record is quite emotional and immense pain and distraught can be heard in Beauvais’s voice throughout Lake & Sand, almost as it is therapeutic for him to share his story. As he begins and ends the record on a graceful but bleak note, MAMMAL shows a human side amongst all his synthetic noises and different electronics. He has a heartbeat, shows compassion and love, shows his inner demons, and conquers them on Lake & Sand, proving to all that we are above the sand below us.