As summer comes to end I can’t help but wonder if I could have done more. I didn’t really do much besides failed attempts at drafts and distance myself from certain areas of my life and (unsurprisingly to some) listen to music. Despite the many albums that caught my attention this summer none could have been more perfectly timed and entrancing as The Beths debut “Future Me Hates Me” An album that I’ve kept on repeat all day and an album that reminds me why I love Pop Music as a whole.
Despite the abrasive production from the first few seconds I’ve grown accustomed to The Beths sound with their own kick ass flair along with the many influences that echo from the sound The Beths put out and be prepared as I may repeat myself on this. On first listen I could hear influences of Headlights whimsical sound to Black Tambourine’s abrasiveness and volume and even Alvvays’ with traces of their luscious hooks and each listen I can hear more and more on what influenced the band giving me a feeling that I’m starting understand the band as people and what they listen in their spare time the more and more I listen to this record as silly as that sounds. This is not a bad thing by any means as I’ve said already as the band has their own personality and their own sound to bring to the table that help set them apart from many acts in the scene. This aren’t just another Indie rock/pop rock band, this is The Beths.
This album is a love letter to the music it’s adhering to and The Beths do this with astronomical results. Everything you love in your favorite Pop and Indie Rock albums is here and then some. From the best tropes to the overall vibe the genres put out. With every build up you see coming The Beths mix it up with something you don’t see coming. It’s not game changing but people forget that music doesn’t have to be game changing to be enjoyable and this record is a perfect example of that. While each track may sound similar in instrument set up each track is different and sophisticated in composition with a simple sound that leaves the ears buzzing and my head feeling fuzzy. Especially with the ending guitar solo to “Happy Unhappy” that almost makes me want to loop that one part over and over again. The strings are always fun and fanatic and the percussion can range from a beat you can’t overlook to overwhelmingly inviting to the point where it can’t be overlooked. Lead singer and songwriter Elizabeth Stokes vocals are extremely fitting for the overall sound the band is achieving. The subtle cracks in her voice in “Little Death” are stuck in my head and I couldn’t be more happy about that. Her lyricism, while not the most poetic to most, is a nice change of pace with some light-hearted and fun humor, maturity and a sense of reliability and humanity with themes of insecurity, love, regret, youthful irresponsibility and even hopelessness in some areas. Scenarios in which some of these themes are conveyed are simplistic but not outlandish and melodramatic. It’s a perfect example of beauty in simplicity that you have to listen to yourself to understand. Each member shares the spotlight equally and despite the rather gloomy themes Stokes still finds fun and something to giggle at and when you mix all these aspects together you get one of the most inviting and realistic records of the year.
You can’t talk about an album without mentioning a few tracks, the tricky part is what tracks to mention and what to say about them. They all have the same kinetic energy and fun spirit. Each track does a “lil somthin” to spice each track and give it its own identity. Even if it seems as minuscule as clapping and banter between members, it helps a ton and adds to the bands overall identity and impression. “Happy Unhappy” (one of the record’s main singles) starts off as a more upbeat tune and as Stokes lyricism starts to swirl the drain emotionally and over thinking the little things so do the instrumentals ending the whole track on one wild and chaotic note.
Some may say some of this record borrows from cliches from their respective genres and while I can see some of that statement I’d like to add that they take what we’ve heard before and somehow make it feel new. This (again) benefits their overall presence in my eyes as a couple of people who just…really…really…really love what they’re doing and just teeter around to pass the time. The amount of passion flowing through these tracks is overwhelming. It makes me reminisce the long nights I’d stay up late listening and finding new records many years ago. One more thing I’d like to note is the album’s overall consistency. Each track is extremely solid. If you were to ask me what was my least favorite track I’d probably self-destruct in all honesty. They’re that good! Many albums this year have been hard to sit through and The Beths aren’t just playing another album in my eyes and they aren’t just playing background noise. Rather something else entirely that I quite can’t put my finger on quite yet.
As each month passes by, in my opinion, the quality of music has been getting better but I have yet to find that “one” record I wouldn’t be able to put down. Until now! While one may argue it’s not the most original, sure but on the contrary it’s one of the most human, impressionable and fun records of the year and a perfect example that a record doesn’t have to be “poetic” or “revolutionary” to be a good listen or even stand out. There isn’t a single dud on this thing and despite my peculiar summer , the discovery of this record is one of my favorite experiences this summer! Making my summer feel complete in a way.
(I don’t like giving scores but for those who do….96/100)
The Beths put out a perfectly timed debut album to send the summer off into the sunset while also making a record that will not only have me coming back to for months but remind me what it means to love music. It plays with stereotypical tropes in the genre all while making them feel new to listeners old and new along with making a name and a sound for themselves in the process. It’s a love letter to Pop music old and new and it reminds me why I love the genre so much while making an easy contender for album of the year.
The Beths are:
Elizabeth Stokes – Vocals, guitar
Jonathan Pearce – guitar, vocals
Benjamin Sinclair – bass, vocals
Ivan Luketina-Johnston – drums, vocals, tambourine
(Sources and shop @ https://thebethsnz.bandcamp.com/ Please remember to support artists! They need to eat too!)
Thank you for reading and may God bless you!