On June 2nd, Brooklyn jangle rock band Beach Fossils will release their third album, Somersault. By that time, it will have been about four-and-a-half years since they put out sophomore album Clash The Truth, on which they attempted to mature and tidy up the distinctly lo-fi sound that had become their calling card. So far, Somersault seems like it’ll do a much better job of that.
Clash The Truth somewhat succeeded at its mission, with producer Ben Greenberg (of fellow Brooklyng band The Men) adding clarity to the recordings, and the band fleshing out their sound a bit from its bare-bones origins, but something subtle was somehow lost in transition. Whereas their self-titled first album may have seemed more boring on paper, what with its simple song structures and limited instrumentation, it holds up as more timeless than Clash The Truth’s soupy, stretched-too-thin attempt at sonic diversity.
Perhaps all the band needed was time. The three tracks we’ve heard from Somersault thus far-- “This Year,” “Saint Ivy,” and now “Down The Line”-- present an even greater stylistic breadth than Clash The Truth, but with greater attention to detail. “This Year” is lush with its vocal harmonies and string section, and “Saint Ivy,” with its 60s baroque pop influence, marks the most out-of-character song the band’s ever recorded. By comparison, “Down The Line” is a back-to-the-basics move by Beach Fossils, but not redundantly so.
The song sounds like it could have been performed using the same setup that appeared on Beach Fossils-- reverb-laden, harmonized guitars, a high-pitched, melodic bass, and the stand up drum kit played by former member Zachary Cole Smith (now of DIIV)-- but this time, regardless of the input, the output’s no longer lo-fi. The smeared sweetness that the band used to achieve by blurring their recordings with tape noise, slight distortion, and reverb is now reached using subtler, less distracting effects.
It’ll definitely be interesting to see how “Down The Line” fits in among the more adventurous tracks on Somersault.