Sound — 8
Beach Fossils, like Best Coast or Surfer Blood, comprise the wave of 2010's beach pop revival. What sets Beach Fossils apart from the pack is their incorporation of shoegaze elements in their music. Are Beach Fossils a shoegaze band catching onto beach pop-mania or are they true beach pop musicians indulging in shoegaze elements? To answer this we look at the lo-fi elements of the recording. They often sound lackadaisical and anemic, but quite a lot of this is due to the large amounts of reverb on the guitars and vocals being turned down in the mix. Indeed, if you ever see a Beach Fossils live show, they are seen to be much more captivating and energetic, which leads us to believe they are a Brian Wilson fans trying to emulate My Bloody Valentine. There were many bands doing beach pop and there were many bands doing lo-fi in 2010, but none of them were quite as direct as Beach Fossils. At times they are as tight as Interpol (like on Wide Awake) where 8th note guitars and 4/4 drums are the driving force.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics constitute the weakest part of the Beach Fossils album. Even on the standout track Daydream, you remember the distinctive guitar layers, rather than the mumbled words. Often the vocals are completely drowned out, like on The Horse, and add nothing to the tracks. The titles are short and often non-descript revolving around cliched surfer themes (Vacation, Lazy Day, Youth). Neither the lyrics or song titles give much indication on what the song is about. This leads to the overriding impression that many of the songs are very similar indeed.
Overall Impression — 7
Whether you like the Beach Fossils largely depends on what you have listened to before. If you ever thought the Beach Boys would have been improved by adding Joy Division to the mix, Beach Fossils will certainly deliver. What this record shows is potential, but is often bogged down in repetition and poor production. If Beach Fossils were to venture from the beach pop standard model, they may be capable of creating a great record. The lead single from EP 'What A Pleasure' seems to indicate lessons learned, but it remains to be seen if Beach Fossils are to progress beyond riffs and mumbles.