By Allie McGlone
Somersault is an inspired but pared down exhibition of the talents and tropes of the Beach Fossils.
The Beach Fossils’ album “Somersault” is a display of some of the band’s quintessential musical features and vocal characteristics. The instrumental heavy indie pop tracks paired with their low, whispery vocals are calm and pleasing. The songs are interesting and lyrically nuanced. However, there is a similarity and even monotony throughout the album when it comes to sound.
The band continues to display the fantastic instrumental and interesting lyrics for which they are well known. The songs are well written and poetic, including lines such as “so call me up tonight // if you need somewhere to get out of the light” in “Down the Line.” Songs such as “That’s All for Now,” and “Saint Ivy” show off vocal talents paired with prominent instrumental, and neither seems to overpower the other in either song.
The Beach Fossils are known to create music that is generally understated while maintaining an alternative edge. They create their aesthetic based on this typical genre. For example, the band mainly uses black and white images for its album covers, and the lowercase letters in the band’s name on its website fit in with this persona.
“Somersault” does not diverge from that course, in fact, it adheres more strictly to it than previous albums. All of the songs have basic similar rhythms and melancholy lyrics. Tone and pitch are static throughout most of the songs, which at times can make the music feel anticlimactic. The instrumental relies on gloomy percussion and piano.
In previous music, there has been more variety. For example, Beach Fossils songs such as “Out In the Way” and “Fall Right In,” from the album “What a Pleasure” showed variations in vocal and instrumental rhythm throughout. The songs on Somersault are quiet and static compared to these earlier releases. The song “Rise” is the only significant departure from their typical style and the common thread of the album. This song includes echoey spoken lyrics and the repetition of the words “you know.” The instrumental retains the band’s typical characteristics, so the song blends in with the rest of the album in this respect.
Overall, Somersault maintains the Beach Fossils’ classic characteristics but trims some of the instrumental and vocal variety, which has been an asset to the band in the past. As this review has previously discussed, many of the songs have similar quiet and monotonous tunes and dismal lyrics. This similarity also makes the entire album an easy listen and gives it a very specific mood and therefore is not necessarily an issue to listeners. However, some may hope for more diverse songs in the future.