Beach Fossils‘ debut self-titled album sounds like a lazy, slow-motion day in the California sun. Despite the fact that I can think of several other recent indie releases that fit that description, this Brooklyn trio has something special going on. Their hazy, lo-fi sound and loose song structure are at once refreshing and nostalgic. The slight distortion and layered, casual vocals of Dustin Payseur sound as if they would be infinitely more at home on vinyl than a shiny CD. The album as a whole is astonishingly cohesive. The songs blend together like one long waking dream, but catchy guitar riffs make songs like “Sometimes,” “Youth,” and (naturally) “Daydream” stand out just enough to be memorable.
The cleanly-picked melodies on guitar are the grounding force of the concept of Beach Fossils as well as the songs. Guitar riffs are as much of a presence on the album as Payseur’s vocals are, and rightfully so. The conversational lyrics and mellow delivery play an important role in Beach Fossils’ overall sound (as do the guitar, bass, and restrained drums), but no one element overpowers the other.
In accordance with the band’s sound, Payseur is never caught trying too hard. “Lazy today/ Lazy tonight/ And later on/ All we had to do was nothing at all under the sun” he sings on “Lazy Day.” Instead of seeming mundane, lyrics like these, devoid of metaphor or exaggeration, seem refreshingly straight-forward and honest. Opening track “Sometimes” is a relatively upbeat start to the record and a perfect introduction to the Beach Fossils auditory aesthetic. “Window View” stands out as a calm breakaway from the pack of surf-rock jams; It’s languidly romantic and almost feels like it’s in slow motion itself.
If you’ve never been a fan of laid-back surf rock, then you probably will not like this record, but if you could use a new and intriguing lo-fi band to jam to, these are your guys. Summer will only be around for a few more weeks, so I suggest you grab a beer, find some sand, and feast your ears on the lazy beauty that is Beach Fossils.