Over the course of the three years that began their career, Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils released two albums, an EP, and four singles. Since February 2013, on the other hand, they’ve been absolutely silent. They’ll break that long hiatus on June 2nd with Somersault, their third album.
Listening to first single “This Year,” which came out about a month ago, it was pretty clear that Beach Fossils had used their time off wisely, as they managed to carve finely-tuned guitar pop out of their once-shambolic (but endearingly so!) sound. The addition of a string section was definitely a shock, and they lean even further into baroque impulses on Somersault’s second single, “Saint Ivy.”
All of the hallmarks of stately psychedelic pop are there-- a tight, melodic bassline that sounds like it could come from Paul McCartney’s Hofner, strings that trot during the verses and swoon during the chorus, a flute solo, and a coda that begins with a solo piano before blooming into a duet betweens the strings and a white-hot electric guitar. It calls to mind pristine ‘60s gems like The Zombies’ “Hung Up on a Dream,” as well as songs inspired by that era, such as The Shins’ “Saint Simon.”
The “This Year” video matches that state of ebullience with its optimism in the face of trying times. In it, Beach Fossils celebrate the diversity and interconnectedness of New York City, creating scenes that are both jarring and powerful, like a breakdancer swiveling around to that flute solo. “Not My President” graffiti is visible at one point, the clear message being that what makes this country great is exactly what said president is trying to eliminate.
As the band poses in front of a neon flag in one of the video’s final shots, they present a form of patriotism that’s not nationalistic, but pluralistic.