“Clash the Truth” ultimately lackluster despite several shining spots

Beach Fossils’ “Clash the Truth” earns three out of five stars.



Tyler Davis, Writer


If there’s one word I would use to describe independent music in the new decade, it would be reverb. The effect has been used, perhaps even overused, by everyone from Best Coast to The Black Keys. It’s nearly impossible to determine who started this trend, but one band stands out as one of the originators of this particular sound. That band is Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils, channeling a sound that sounds much more West Coast than it does East Coast.

Beach Fossils began as the solo recording project of lead vocalist Dustin Payseur. Payseur recorded Beach Fossils’ debut album on his own, playing all of the instruments heard on the album. The debut made appearances on many indie music blogs and Payseur played many local venues in the Brooklyn area. When the band was signed in 2010, Beach Fossils became a full band, touring with a revolving door of musicians supporting Payseur. Now with a static line-up, Beach Fossils is releasing their sophomore album, “Clash The Truth.”

Verging on the opaque

The album begins with the title track, a strong opener to an album that can sometimes fall into the territory of monotony. The track is the album’s strongest moment, consisting of vibrant  melodies and emotive guitars, reminiscent of The National’s “High Violet.” Following the opener, the album can sometimes verge on the opaque. The next song, “Generational Synthetic” begins with beachy guitars and busy drums that overpower the other instruments in the song.

Another highlight is the fourth track “Careless.” While most of the album contains a darker sound, this track takes a brighter route with shimmering guitars and vocals as Payseur sings: “Now hear you shine and all the stream / I couldn't go against my dreams.”  This is one of the better tracks on “Clash The Truth.” Much like the opener, it succeeds in connecting to the listener melodically.

Creative guitar work shines on album

Despite being preceded by weaker tracks that fail to separate themselves from the mix as well as from other bands mimicking Beach Fossils’ style, the closing track “Crashed Out” is a beautiful end to the album. The song harkens back to ‘80s and ‘90s post punk music from the likes of Joy Division and Pulp. Beach Fossils’ guitar work shines through on this closer, with creative rhythm and lead lines.

Beach Fossils is a talented band and they do the reverb-y, beachy sound better than most indie bands today. Moreover, they’re capable of writing great songs. Unfortunately, on this release those great songs are dispersed among dull and forgettable tracks along the way. Perhaps this is simply the result of the full band writing together for the first time, rather than it being simply a solo project, but I have hope that a third release will improve on the groundwork laid by “Clash The Truth.” 

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