Label: Carpark Records
Release Date: 10th July 2020
"This album resonates more like a nostalgic nod to the decade of whimsical girl rock bands and underground grunge."
With their latest release Jump Rope Gazers, The Beths give us throwback 90s rock style. Categorised mainly as an indie-pop group, I feel this album resonates more like a nostalgic nod to the decade of whimsical girl rock bands and underground grunge. Courtney Love in alternative rock band Hole gives comparable vibes in terms of female vocals.
These songs wouldn’t be out of place in the soundtrack of an iconic rom-com. ‘Dying to Believe’ feels like the ideal backing track to a Clueless or 10 Things I Hate About You montage scene. This is only their second album, but The Beths don’t refrain from throwing all their buzzing New Zealand charm into the mix. Yet the quartet’s music remains sassy and almost moody in their sound.
The sweet wistful vocals tend to be fast. Elizabeth Stokes, lead singer and only female band member, layers the pounding guitar riff with painstakingly quick lyrics:
“I’m not getting excited/
’Cause the thrill isn’t mine to invite in/
Just the chill when I learn/
I’ve finally earned my place in the urn.”
These rhyming couplets bombard us, capturing us within the thrashing beat. In a word: catchy. But the meaning behind them, easily skipped past as we skim alongside the fast-paced melody, is much deeper. Stokes’ lyrics speak of insecurity and imposter syndrome, a much relatable segment in every young person’s life.
The album then transitions to more mellow tracks with ‘Jump Rope Gazers’, ‘Acrid’ and ‘Do You Want Me Know’, quite a swift change of direction, though not necessarily an unwelcome one, from the punchy opening songs. The band demonstrate a more sentimental, mature side in this slower segment of the album, though this vulnerability comes with the sacrifice of earlier tightness and punch.
The Beths have a sound that would, without doubt, be super fun live. Although they might not be getting excited, I certainly am.
Words by Megan Johnson.
18th July 2020.