Clash the Truth is the second album from the Brooklyn band Beach Fossils. The new material carries all the typical qualities of their most suited genres of shoe-gaze and dream-pop, such as distortion on vocals along with a fuzzy wall of sound produced by guitars. Their label, Captured Tracks suggested that this album is a move away from ‘bedroom DIY’ and move toward the “energetic and cathartic” sound of the live shows, yet the bedroom recording lo-fi qualities are still admittedly obvious in the rough textures and Payseur’s angsty vocals.
Dustin Payseur’s Beach Fossils started as a solo project back in 2009 and since then has grown to a band with a line-up of ever changing musicians, including DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith and John Peńa of Heavenly Beat. The constant change of members perhaps hints at a stunt in ideas for new material – Payseur seems unable to experiment and plays it safe by simply sticking to what he’s good at. Clash the Truth seems to offer nothing new and is simply a recycled collection of the previous self titled 2010 album. The track ‘Generation Synthetic’ for example encompasses the vibe of the 2010 album, continuing to use qualities such as a steady fast drum beat and strong bass line to drive the song forward. Likewise, ‘In Vertigo’ featuring Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino reverts back to the dream pop vocals and screen of noise known so well to their previous work.
Beach Fossils’ ‘Generational Synthetic’
Reusing old ideas is not always a negative. ‘Ascension’ offers a pleasant and peaceful instrumental track consisting of a smooth lift of chords and melody as ‘Sleep Apnea’ holds gentle and distant distorted dream pop vocals and simplistic guitar riffs and ‘Taking Off’ returns to the teenage angst vocals above a bed of guitars and drums. The furthest shift from DIY production is the 30 second track ‘Brighter’, displaying a glistening motif solely laptop wind instruments, sounding polished and separate from the rest of the album.
Perhaps the music within this album is better suited to live shows. The new qualities that Captured Tracks have tried to promote are not immediately obvious on the recorded album; the drums and bass were recorded together live in a room to capture the excitement and energy from Beach Fossil’s gigs, yet as a recording it appears to be much too contained and the animated force is lost. The description of Clash the Truth was to be something new and a step away from lo-fi DIY, yet (excuse the pun) this very much clashes the truth as the new material is far from innovating and simply reiterates the ideas from the album before.
Written by Laura Durechova
OurVinyl | Contributor