On their third full-length, Brooklyn indie-pop/shoegaze trio Beach Fossils break free from the shackles of chillwave and all of its associations. While their sonic cohorts Real Estate also recently delivered a solid album full of laidback dream-pop tunes, Beach Fossils‘ Somersault takes the foundation Dustin Payseur and company laid for themselves and builds upon it a monolith.
Whenever a band takes four years between albums, it’s easy to be apprehensive about their return. Beach Fossils‘ quell any worries fans might have about the long break causing the band to lose their touch right off the bat as album opener “This Year” sparkles into existence, a hazy mix of jangling guitars, breezy vocals and the same buoyant bass lines that characterized so much of their early work. As the track builds, however, there’s something different at its core. When Payseur croons, “By now I told myself I’d be a better friend // I’ll see you on the other side of life,” there’s a sense of honesty, transparency, not explored on the group’s previous releases.
As the album progresses, Beach Fossils utilize more varied instrumentation—orchestral string arrangements, a flute, and a harpsichord all lend their own progressive flair as the group refuses to be confined by the typical power trio instrumentation. While bands often claim to grow as musicians between albums, Beach Fossils make good on that claim to great success. In the years since their self-titled debut, Payseur and Co. have matured from windows-down, beach-side drive chill-rockers to reflective, meticulously calculated indie-pop stars—and with Somersault, they safely cement their place as the best in their field.