"[Black Dice's Beaches and Canyons] generally tends to eschew pounding hardcore rhythms, employing beats in unique and clever ways throughout the compositions to keep them vital. The drums are very effective throughout in their ability to add presence to the ongoing loops, adding a pounding heart to the web of tortured sounds and affected melodies. While the violence seems to be almost entirely washed away from their previous efforts, the impressive aspect of this LP is its ability to translate the live show for which the Black Dice is primarily known into a private show-- an ideal recording. These songs seem more like juxtapositions, blueprints, instructions.
With Beaches and Canyons, Black Dice fully embrace the chanting, pounding and moaning of the Grateful Dead: lovin' the jam. These songs, all of which I've heard played live in the past six or so months, are imminently changeable, fluid, and interesting. The songs reveal themselves in subtle ways, hiding their identities for minutes at a time, then briefly reappearing as themselves throughout the song, as a slightly repeating pattern or token sound. The songs go out of and back into themselves in a manner similar to John Coltrane's late-era renditions of 'My Favorite Things': the crowd in Japan, stunned by an hour-long take on Rodgers & Hammerstein, suddenly remember what they're enjoying when the theme returns as a slurred parade of squeaked notes.
Black Dice have managed to create an album that properly illustrates the changing nature of their sound. Many groups have found this extremely difficult to achieve on tape, often sticking to formulas in the studio while limiting their experiments to live shows. Beaches and Canyons is an intense document of Black Dice's evolution-- cycling through styles and equipment like they're simple and meaningless tools, eyes on the goal of reorganizing sound and transforming it through sheer volume." Mike Bernstein, Pitchfork