“Generational Synthetic” by Beach Fossils

This post puts me in the interesting position of praising so-called “hipster music” that’s just recently been disavowed by Pitchfork.  Beach Fossils’ self-titled debut, back in 2010, was part of a broader trend within the Pitchfork-beloved realm of DIY indie dream-pop.  Now comes Clash the Truth, the second Beach Fossils album and their first since expanding into a full band (like the debuts by Dylan Baldi’s Cloud Nothings and Jack Tatum’s Wild Nothing, among others, the first Beach Fossils record consisted of bedroom recordings created entirely by frontman Dustin Payseur).  Opening his review of Clash the Truth, Pitchfork contributing editor Ian Cohen fondly reminisces about the album’s predecessor, describing it as a touchstone of indie music in the early 2010s, “when the attitudinal tenets of chillwave were leeching into fuzzy, soft-focus indie pop.”  He then proceeds to pan the new record thoroughly and compare present-day Beach Fossils unfavorably with Diiv, whose frontman, Zachary Cole Smith, was a live member of Beach Fossils before he started his own project.  Cohen assigns Clash the Truth a 5.8, a pretty low score for Pitchfork and especially for a band they’d previously given high marks.

I disagree strongly with Pitchfork on this one.  I like Clash the Truth a lot better than its predecessor.  It represents a significant shift in style for Payseur, moving away from reverb-drenched dream-pop towards relatively jittery post-punk with live drums.  Obviously, I’m not a fan of the former, whereas I’ve always thought pretty highly of the latter.  But in addition, I think that Payseur’s songs on this album are a top-notch mix of mesmerizing guitars, post-punk bass, and memorable melodies.  My favorite tracks at the moment are “Caustic Cross,” “Burn You Down,” “Careless,” and the title track.  I highly recommend that you check out the whole album, but for now here’s the single, “Generational Synthetic.”

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