Album Review

Beach Fossils - Somersault

It raises the bar from the band’s previous output.

Beach Fossils - Somersault

“This year I told myself it’d be a better one,” hushes Dustin Payseur on ‘This Year’, the opening track from Beach Fossils’ third album and first in four years. It doesn’t sound like his promise to himself is coming true, but at least he can rest safe in the knowledge ‘Somersault’ raises the bar on 2013’s ‘Clash The Truth’.

Previously, the band - completed by bassist Jack Doyle Smith and guitarist Tommy Davidson (drummer Tommy Gardner left earlier this year) - could be accused of being a little one note. Their compositions were lush and soothing, but lacked variety. Here, the trio have fixed that issue without compromising an inch of what endeared them to so many before. ‘Saint Ivy’ is dreamy indie rock at its most elegant, strings floating beneath Dustin’s typically tranquil vocals. A harpsichord jangles cheerily on ‘Closer Everywhere’, taking things into a paisley-flecked 60s haze and ‘Be Nothing’ is a dazed meander through bright, airy guitar strums and clipped bass, but builds to a brief, thrilling storm.

The evident rise in experimentation is due, in part, to bringing Jack and Tommy into the songwriting process. It’s also helped even more by the album’s two outside collaborators. Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell brings a new dimension to the group’s layers on the shuffling, sweet ‘Tangerine’, while Memphis rapper Cities Aviv takes the lead on ‘Rise’. The latter turns Beach Fossils into his backing band, underpinning his languid bars with smooth sax lines and tender drones. It’s a move that previously wouldn’t have been expected of them, but proves to be a beautiful pairing that succeeds in making ‘Somersault’ even more eclectic. Proof that sometimes sharing your vision can pay off spectacularly.

Tags: Beach Fossils, Reviews, Album Reviews

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