Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Album review: BEACH FOSSILS - Clash The Truth

Highlights: Clash The Truth, Generation Synthetic, Sleep Apnea, Careless

Dream pop.

You know how you would sometimes read a band description and notice things that might attract you or put you off. A comparison with The Byrds would pique my curiosity while a Sonic Youth reference would most likely make me yawn. I love Daydream Nation as much as anyone else, there’s just something in my stomach that doesn’t agree with a band that is compared to Sonic Youth. Similarly, a band “playing dream pop” is where I would normally switch off the lights, say good night and leave.

Still, something prompted me to give Beach Fossils a chance. And I could swear after track number four that Clash The Truth is the best dream pop album in recent memory. Dreamy, hazy, yes, but these are actually good, concise pop songs with substantial tunes and palpable hooks. Despite the woozy, viscous vocals and the drowsy production, it doesn’t even seem like you are listening to a dream pop album: just a solid indie album with strong songwriting.

Then, however, the curse sets in, and Clash The Truth no longer sounds particularly articulate. It’s all good, pleasant-sounding music that would appeal to a Beach House fan, but the rest of us might feel seriously underwhelmed. There’s no denying the prettiness of a song like “In Vertigo”, but the problem is that it has very little to recommend beyond its prettiness. A song or two will stick out (“Caustic Cross” is another highlight), but mostly you will just feel at sea. Which fans of the genre wouldn’t really mind, of course.

If we try to be objective, then Clash The Truth is indeed a very good dream pop album – and as such, I will rarely feel the urge to relive the experience of hearing it. Take last year’s Bloom by Beach House: if I’m in that sort of mood, I will go for the more charismatic Deserter’s Songs. Let’s take nothing away from these guys, though: some good pop music here. Hence the seven.


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