February 13, 2013

Test Spins: Beach Fossils, Clash the Truth

Print More

Brooklyn-based group Beach Fossils more or less began as Dustin Payseur’s solo project. Its first eponymous LP was essentially a one-man tour-de-force, with Payseur playing every instrument. Soothing and stripped-down, Beach Fossils was the obvious result of a turn inward and sounded like the introspective musings of a man that hadn’t left his bedroom in a while. That’s not to say it was unappealing — Beach Fossils remains a gorgeous record, but the type you enjoy while wallowing in your own malaise on a rainy Sunday afternoon. In the four years since then, the band has developed into a full-fledged quartet, and their sophomore effort reflects their evolution. Clash the Truth, out next week and currently streaming on Stereogum, is a fuller and much more riveting effort.

Clash the Truth never abandons the beautifully layered sparkle-pop Payseur mastered on Beach Fossils. But the band has added a healthy dose of aggression — even the album’s title is confrontational — to the recipe, thanks in part to the addition of real percussion. Urgent, snare-filled tracks like “Generational Synthetic” and “Careless” pair Payseur’s melodic vocals with a backbone of unrelenting drumbeats. Even moody, low-key songs like “Sleep Apnea” rely on Tommy Gardner’s steady drumming. Occasionally, Clash the Truth does feel a tad unfinished. Few tracks manage to break the three minute mark and the fourteen tracks clock in at a measly 35 minutes. The title track, for example, meshes a catchy guitar lead with Payseur’s blurred vocals — and it’s one of the most captivating songs on the record. Yet the song ends just when it should be hitting its groove, cutting out abruptly at two minutes before reaching its climax.In a recent interview Payseur claimed that “the whole point of this album was to make something that had the energy and the feel of the live show.” It’s all a little bit post-punk and a little bit dream-pop and a sure sign that Beach Fossils have found their place in the indie soundscape.

Original Author: Gina Cargas