Home Music Beach Fossils’ return is long overdue

Beach Fossils’ return is long overdue

by Sarah Jesmer October 17, 2017
Beach Fossils’ return is long overdue

After a four year hiatus, the band’s return is now set in stone

It has been four long years since the music world heard new material from Beach Fossils. The band is back and here to stay with their new record, Somersault. Which sounds similar to their earlier works, yet, the final package is somehow different somehow.

During their hiatus, the group has learned more about what they want to sound like as a collective and what they want to offer as artists. It’s evident the band took their time—lead singer Dustin Payseur started a record label with his wife. Now, he’s ready to come back into the spotlight with his bandmates.

Singer Dustin Payseur and bassist John Pena jam on stage at the Theatre Fairmount. Photo by Sarah Jesmer

Somersault, is a breezy, lo-fi, jangle rock record that feels like a good weekend with friends. Tracks like “This Year,” driven by a repetitive, soft guitar, are paired with the lush strings of a subtle orchestra.

The album is more energized, polished and exciting than Beach Fossils’ previous albums. The vocals cut through the guitar with piercing clarity, showcasing Payseur’s lyrics. This mix adds a dimension, while violins carry the songs softly in the back. The far-out, beachy, garage tones of their 2010 debut album are sprinkled in small doses throughout the new album. This can be clearly heard on tracks like “Saint Ivy,” but this stylistic approach is intentional. It’s no longer just jamming for Beach Fossils.

The album features collaborations with Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, in a back-and-forth duet with Payseur in “Tangerine.” The two pair up again in a spoken-word interlude, accompanied by Cities Aviv on sultry saxophones, in “Rise Up.” The tones of this track are reminiscent of James Blake’s vocals. “There’s not enough collaboration in rock music,” said Payseur about working with fellow artists, something he hopes to do again in the future.

Snail Mail and raener opened up for Beach Fossils. Raener sounded like a fresh mix of Bon Iver and Glass Animals, and the female duo of Snail Mail rocked the stage with a simple guitar and bass medley paired over soaring vocals from lead singer Lindsey Jordan. Photo by Sarah Jesmer

And there will be a future, according to Payseur. Every Beach Fossils album feels like the last, he said, despite the fact this new album is so unique. It marks the beginning of a new direction for the band, which will entail more features, more teamwork and promoting what they stand for as a band.

Payseur’s lyrics come from his own experiences, drawing on relationships with friends and significant others. Beach Fossils’ albums don’t stick to just one story. The record is an ode to someone close to the the singer, whoever that may be.

Somersault’s lyrics are coupled with sweet nostalgia and a whisper of political references. In “Down The Line,” Payseur references A.C.A.B. (the anti-police acronym meaning “All Cops are Bastards”) and a personal rejection of Wall Street. These political slants are new but necessary, according to Payseur. This is shown in the lyrics, “Wanna believe in America, but it’s somewhere I can’t find,” featured in “Saint Ivy.”

“It’s shitty to be in a place of privilege, like a white man, and be completely silent about things [going on in the United States],” he said, explaining why it’s important for the band to use their platform for advocacy. “Actions speak louder than words. Getting out and participating in protests and putting money towards certain organizations, that stuff goes a long way,” Payseur said.

The Brooklyn-based band performed in Montreal last week, the third stop in their North American tour, accompanied by Snail Mail and raener.

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