Beach Fossils – Somersault
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On their 2013 album, Beach Fossils' main man Dustin Payseur successfully expanded his reverb-fed bedroom pop sound by including the contributions of his bandmate, guitarist Tommy Davidson, in the studio. After a long break, Beach Fossils' 2017 album, Somersault, includes not only the studio presence of Davidson again, but bassist Jack Smith too. The pair also took on a more collaborative role in the songwriting process. And if that weren't enough change, the trio brought in string sections, keyboards, flutes, Slowdive's Rachel Goswell, and rapper Cities Aviv (briefly) to help give their once claustrophobic pop sound a widescreen makeover. At their core, the songs still have all the melancholy gloom that Payseur brought to his earliest work; they also have the subtle hooks and still exude a calm warmth that makes Beach Fossils records very easy to cozy up with. This time, though, Beach Fossils take much more care with the arrangements, whether adding strings or harpsichord, adding dynamic shifts, or basically sounding like they spent some of their break studying Bacharach, or at least some Spoon. Where once their songs and records kind of rolled by in an unbroken wave of sound and bummer feels, now there is a lot more to grab onto sonically. Lots of bands try making more sophisticated music like this and end up falling on their faces because they either get to stuffy or too tricky. Beach Fossils play it just right. Their previous records were really good examples of 2010s indie pop, and the band could have just kept cranking them out for the foreseeable future and it would have been fine. Somersault blows past them and puts the band on a new, higher level thanks to the high quotient of instantly memorable songs, the deep feelings conjured up by the melodies and the music, and the very impressively sculpted sound. Anyone who thought maybe the band's moment had passed will be pleasantly surprised to hear that Beach Fossils are back and better than ever.