Are Americans chilling out or what? I don’t what it means, but a lot of American indie music has gone from the jittery rock scene of the early 2000s to the chilled out scene of the early 2010s. One such act, Brooklyn’s own Beach Fossils, charmed us last year with their debut record, Beach Fossils, and now they’ve returned with another shoegazy, beachy and really (not to say it again but) chill album.
Dustin Payseur, for whom Beach Fossils was initially a solo project, claims influence from a variety of sources including jazz musician Don Cherry, Swedish progg band Pärson Sound and, of course, Bach. But on the surface, the now three-piece band’s work sounds a lot more like a Joy Division record than a Bach suite. But the difference is in the intricacies.
Unlike rock bands of the past, Beach Fossils don’t focus songs around a simple riff and verse/chours/verse format. The guitars sound more improvisational and organic, like (and here’s that influence) Bach or Don Cherry. It’s what takes Beach Fossils out of the realm of typical Brooklyn bands and places them on a much higher and more sophisticated musical plane.
The evolution from Beach Fossils to What A Pleasure is subtle. Since the band branded their latest eight-track release as an EP, they can claim it as experimentation with new styles. Their eponymous debut was comparatively simple and easy, leaning slightly more to the pop side of things. On Pleasure though, the band seems to be tightening up and losing some of their pop sensibilities in favor of a more complex and intricate sound.
Still, Beach Fossils retains every ounce of the chill vibe that seems to emanate not just from them but from so many acts over the last couple of years. But with records like What A Pleasure, Beach Fossils are showing us that they’re a wonderfully simple breed all their own.
What A Pleasure EP is out now. Buy it at Captured Tracks.