vrijdag 6 oktober 2017

Somersault. Beach Fossils

Although Somersault is out for several months I wanted to write a review anyway, having seen the band recently in Paradiso. Because of the show I found out that Beach Fossels had a new album out and started listening a lot to it.

The overall view present an easy to make conclusion. Somersault is an album without any danger. An album that will never bite. Instead it might kill you by sugarcoating. All this is meant in a positive way.

The Brooklyn based band around Dustin Payseur presents its soft voiced songs in an insecure secure way. It all sounds hesitatingly, as if the band is too shy to let us hear the results of its studio endeavours. At the same time the band never falters, never wavers from what it wants the world to hear.

In the studio the band added strings in several songs, hence the sugar coating. The surprises come when a German flute is added for a solo in 'Saint Ivy', after which a soft, but oh so right guitar riff takes over.

The atmosphere of Somersault is the exact opposite if the title. You never see someone make one somersault. It's always a lot of them in a row, busy, impressive, flashy and full of balanced power. The album is light like all the instruments float on top of Jack Doyle Smith's bass as in 'May 1st'. The same goes for 'Sugar'. The bass is the most dominant. So if there is a somersault, it is the bass guitar. The rest is like a feather in the wind. And that is where things come together: the best somersaults are gravity defying; like that feather.

With 'Sugar' I can point you to one of the absolute top songs of the album. The sweet riff that rocks the boat ever so little is just about perfect. After that the bass plays the role of Krist Novoselic in the soft spots of Nirvana songs. With the difference that this song explodes ever so soft. This is Beach Fossils, right?

This is an album for all days, but ideal for a Sunday morning, to wake up with while making an extensive brunch to celebrate the time off, with a boiled egg, fresh orange juice, etc. In the background Somersault is working its magic. With a little eruption here and there. The guitar "solo" in 'Closer Everywhere' is about as wild as it gets.

For someone who does not like this kind of music, that breakfast may never pass, for all others this is indie heaven.

There is one surprise on Somersault. Beach Fossils does an Velvet Underground. Again in its very own way and with one of that band's softest song. The penultimate song, 'Be Nothing', makes me think of 'Oh! Sweet Nothin' from the 'Loaded' album for a lot of the time. And then it speeds up and changes the world. Another surprise is the rather strange outing 'Rise'. Barry White without the baritone, the soul taken out of soul music. A rather weird interlude, but why not?

Live the two guitarists, Tommy Davidson and Dustin Payseur, play the biggest role, on the record they are less important. Nearly all of the time it is Doyle Smith who is up front, with (now ex-)drummer Tommy Gardner, keeping time behind him, with The Cure like accuracy. So if I have to name an influence of Beach Fossils, here you have it.

Somersault isn't a brilliant album. It is an album that I would have liked to have bought though. If the merchandise hadn't packed up so early (read on here) in Paradiso, I would have. Beach Fossils have come up with an album that is ever so pleasant to listen to, but most of all, the right follow up to 'Clash The Truth'.


You can listen to and buy Somersault here:


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