Beach Fossils, “Somersault”
From its lyrics to its sonic experimentation, Beach Fossils’ Somersault, just as the name describes, turns our perspective upside down as we follow the quartet through hazy nights in New York City in search of lost lovers, new paths, and maybe a bar that’s still serving past call time.
Coming four years after their sophomore record, Clash the Truth, Somersault finds Beach Fossils opening unexpected doors, adding orchestral instruments to songs like “Saint Ivy” and “Social Jetlag.” Somersault also features songwriting contributions from bassist Jack Smith and guitarist Tommy Davidson, whereas frontman Dustin Payseur had previously written the majority of the songs. The collaboration between all the band members in congruence with the added instrumentation pushes Somersault into a new arena—one in which their traditional reverb-drenched sound meets the smoothness of a flute solo.
Each song is stitched together in a quilt-like fashion through its running theme of nostalgic love and a desire for discovery. In Somersault’s New York, it’s too late for everyone to be awake, yet too early for people to start their days. “I hear your voice inside my head / Can’t remember what you said / In the city that you know / Can you ever take it slow?” Payseur sings in “Closer Everywhere.” Still, songs like “Down the Line” maintain the up-tempo indie-pop sound that’s been prominent in their previous works.
While this mosaic album does a solid job of maintaining consistency despite its varied sounds, rapper Cities Aviv’s spoken word part in “Rise” is a drastic outlier in the collection and feels out of place. All told, Beach Fossils’ decision to experiment is a bold one that functions well for the most part, despite the instances where the stitching isn’t so seamless.