June 5, 2017 Beach Fossils – Somersault (Album Review)
Formed in 2009, in Brooklyn, New York, United States, Beach Fossils further intensified its Indie credibility after releasing in 2011 a cover of The Wake’s “Plastic Flower” – a must-have classic for any New Wave/Indie Pop enthusiast. Nevertheless, Beach Fossils’ own music could also not be underestimated. It fits the mold of the Indie Pop sound – shimmering jangle of guitars, synth drenches, rolling basslines, dancey drum beats, and deadpan-melodic vocal interplay. This places Beach Fossils among the league of contemporary purveyors of the genre, such as Craft Spells (“The Fog Rose High”), DIIV (“How Long Have You Known?”), Heavenly Beat (“Faithless”), Widowspeak (“Locusts”), and Wild Nothing (“Only Heather”).
Currently consisting of Dustin Payseur (vocals), Jack Doyle Smith (bass), and Tommy Davidson (guitar), Beach Fossils has three studio albums under its name – 2010’s self-titled, 2013’s Clash the Truth, and the newly released Somersault.
Released on June 2, 2017, on Bayonet Records, Beach Fossils’ third full-length begins with the bright, sunshine Guitar Pop “This Year,” whose springy plucks and trebley bassline coolly complement the breezy voice of Payseur and the overall atmospherics of the song – an apt album opener for an even lusher Indie Pop offering. The upbeat mood carries on with “Tangerine,” which features Rachel Goswell of the Shoegaze/Dreampop band Slowdive (“When the Sun Hits”). “Saint Ivy” and “May 1st” slow down the beat for a bit and change the rhythm to something choppy and angular; with their ’60s Sunny Pop ambience, they exude an air of nostalgia and a breeze of freshness at the same time. The ensuing ditty, “Rise,” is a different kind of beast, unleashing a whiff of ’70s Jazz Pop, serving as a plateau breaker.
Then there is “Sugar,” which returns the listener to the cool mid-tempo theme of Somersault – a good dose of Shoegaze and Dreampop, an obvious homage to some of the band’s obvious musical influences. Then, following next are the piano-led, slow, dreamy ballads “Closer Everywhere” and “Social Jetlag,” further relaxing the listener’s predisposition.
Thereafter “Down the Line” picks up the beat once again, rousing the listener and enticing him to find his way to the dance floor. It will fit well on a playlist that includes House of Love’s “I Don’t Know Why I Love You,” Lowlife’s “River of Woe,” The Wake’s “Pale Spectre,” and The Drums’ “I Don’t Know How to Love.” After this glittery teaser, Beach Fossils turns moody and reflective again with the album’s penultimate track, the sonically soulful “Be Nothing,” which is effective in sending the listener to a wistful moment there at a windowsill, watching leaves fall off some weather-weary tree branches, only to be woken up from this daydreaming by a sudden swirl of shoegazey guitars. Finally, Somersault wraps up with the equally engaging “That’s All for Now,” whose title fits its placement in this very refreshing album.
With only three albums, Beach Fossils’ music has already developed into something cohesive and characteristic of its sonic trademark. It may be rooted in the allure of Indie Pop – the heart of the band’s musicality – but Beach Fossils is not afraid to sprinkle its concoctions with dashes of a few more musical influences, resulting into something new yet familiar, nostalgic but refreshing, and classic as well as contemporary at the same time. CrypticRock gives Somersault 4 out of 5 stars.