Beach Fossils Somersault Bayonet Records
According to frontman Dustin Payseur, Somersault track This Year deals with the futility of making New Year’s resolutions, given how readily most people tend to lapse back into old habits. Another way of looking at it, though, might just be that there’s beauty in self-acceptance, because Somersault is the sound of a band entirely at ease with themselves.
Beach Fossils arrived in 2010 as one of the quintessential Captured Tracks bands (their early incarnation included DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith) with a dreamy, faintly retro indie rock sound. Their last LP, 2013’s Clash the Truth, leaned towards spikier post-punk territory. This time round, the Brooklyn band have returned to the hazier soundscapes of their early work, although that doesn’t mean there’s been no room for experimentation.
The lo-fi approach of the past is eschewed in favour of something entirely more sumptuous. Rise pairs a horn section with a stirring guest turn from Memphis rapper Cities Aviv, and Saint Ivy ushers in a measured string section. Be Nothing, meanwhile, is the standout, and the one point at which woozy pop is swapped out for something more ambitious – think the sweeping melodies of My Morning Jacket’s The Waterfall paired with noisier guitar lines and you’re halfway there. There’s the occasional misstep – there’s an unconvincing foray into psychedelia with Closer Everywhere, for example – but this is comfortably the best Beach Fossils effort to date, preserving the melodic outlook that they made their name with and embellishing it with a few fresh ideas.