What was to expect of BEACH FOSSILS‘s sophomore album Clash The Truth? Another dream poppy successor of What a Pleasure? Maybe. Yet, the Brooklyn-based band headed by musical mastermind Dustin Payseur definitely exceeded the expectations of both doubters and fans. With this album they they did not just tip one toe into a more professional and elaborate sound but put in their whole leg and escaped the typical bedroom recording studios. The progression to their earlier pieces can heard and felt in every song.
There are many lo-fi bands, just as WILD NOTHING, BEACH HOUSE or DIIV, which produce phenomenally beautiful albums but often find it quite hard to translate these wispy and dreamy melodies onto a stage. To not get left behind in the struggle to distinguish themselves from other, similar bands Payseur was “determined to capture the urgency, human flow and spontaneity of the live performance”. So he went back to his musical roots and brought in some punk rock elements that make Clash The Truth a true shoe-gaze experience with a little bit of a punk vibe. Payseur took his time for releasing a worthy successor to their first album and even got Ben Greenberg of THE MAN and BLONDE REDHEAD‘s Kazu Makino on the boat to give it the perfect finishing touches.
Clash The Truth is a more instrumentally complex record than before. There is a certain element of effortlessness – with rustling drums, Payseurs delicate voice and jangly guitar riffs – in every song that simply make every song extremely catchy. The title track, for example, is one of the most captivating songs because it meshes a beautifully captive guitar riff with blurred vocals singing “dream, rebel, trust, youth, free, life, clash, truth” and “nothing real, nothing true”. It invites every young indie heart to join in singing and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Let’s take, for example, Careless or Generational Synthetic. These are two urgent, snare-filled tracks paired with a backbone of relentless drumbeats. Lyrics and sound go hand in hand as Payseur sings “And I will do it on my own again / and I will say what I mean” – a youthful outcry of artistic frustration that adds layer of vigour to the band’s very amiable sound. Also tracks such as In Vertigo, where Payseur’s and Kazu Makino’s voices pit against each other though melt into something new that makes the band step out of their comfort zone and discover new territory. Although, BEACH FOSSILS‘ original sound does not completely get left behind on Clash The Truth as one can hear on Taking Off, Cautic Cross and Sleep Apnea where the true minimalistic shoe-gaze elements are lucid.
What makes this album so admirable is that one could imagine Payseur standing in one’s living room playing it from the comfort of one’s couch but also on stage singing of wild ardors. It sounds so effortlessly, nice and easy that you would think this is just improvisational brilliance and you would dreamingly go along with each and every note. It would make perfect sense for Clash The Truth to become your soundtrack of the Summer. Jump right in.