Beach Fossils: Beach Fossils

On paper, Brooklyn indie rockers Beach Fossils sound pretty tame and, frankly, played-out.

Luckily, the band's self-titled debut is very impressive, raising the band's profile above the masses of like-minded lo-fi bands struggling to do their thing. With jingle-jangle guitars and surf-tinged rhythms, Beach Fossils don't have a revolutionary sound -- yet it is one that is instantly enjoyable and brutally clean. The credit is due to Dustin Payseur, who is the mastermind behind both the band and its label, Captured Tracks.

His simple, stark songwriting and knack for crisp, inspired composition come together to form Beach Fossils' light, wonderful debut album. Unfortunately, many won't be able to get past the band's name and their locale, but Payseur's Beach Fossils wholeheartedly prove just why Brooklyn is the epicenter for so many up-and-coming, talented musicians. 

What the critics are saying:

Pitchfork: If you've followed indie's trade winds over the past year and a half, you can probably predict what a Brooklyn band called Beach Fossils sounds like to a staggeringly accurate degree. In this case, please set aside the prejudices: Beach Fossils aren't merely trying to evoke the feeling of sand between your toes, and even if you think you've mentally checked out of anything summery and lo-fi, this is a wonderful record. Dustin Payseur's Captured Tracks band claims influence from improvisational jazz, classical music, and Stereolab, and his songwriting owes more to loop-based composition than garage-bound woodshedding. From the functionality of the song titles on down, Beach Fossils has purpose and economy. It's built on cleanly picked single notes stacked over complementary bass patterns and unobtrusive drums. 

The Boston Phoenix: "I never have plans when it turns to night/Cuz I don't do nothing but stay inside," frontman Dustin Payseur half-hums on "Golden Age." The combo that's lethal in life -- lazy and restless -- works magically on the album, drifting by atop dually dark and catchy streamlined melodies, carried by powerful bass lines à la Joy Division's "Disorder." It's a best-case album for beach days foiled by clouds.

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Reviler: If you didn't like chill wave before, this isn't going to be the album that changes your mind. Beach Fossil is an album that shows a band that, while following a trend, is at least good at what they are doing. The record would work well as a zone out album, sound tracking your next beach party or for serious fans, a trait I think goes to show the strength of the record. This isn't saying there are not improvements that I would like to see on future records, but Beach Fossils is such an engaging record, I will be happy with what I have right now.

Austin Town Hall: However much this album does seem to run together with its similar sounds, Beach Fossils do just enough to differentiate between the tracks. "Window View" carries on the themes of observation and dreaming that are present throughout the record, but a slower pace entirely seems to actually have the listener looking out the window as this track plays in your house. You can still feel the roots of the band's sonic pallet here, but it's just a bit left of that, giving the record a bit of room to breathe. Then you go right back to the band's bread and butter with "The Horse." It's got a ringing guitar, a coated vocal, and a bit of a bounce to it. It would be interesting to see where the band's sound could go if they had the addition of legitimate percussion. Not saying the drums don't serve a purpose on Beach Fossils, but the creative notches could be turned up a bit, pushing the band's sound even further.

Beach Fossils is out now via Captured Tracks. The band will be playing the Rhythm Room August 1 with Here We Go Magic.

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