Future Me Hates Me
Few bands can do the simple heavy and fast chord rock anymore without sounding a little boring. It’s efforts from bands like The Beths however that keep the genre fresh as they twist in so many unexpected sounds that you’re constantly guessing where it will go next. It’s their unique personalities and relentless playing on this album that keeps you ecstatic while listening rather than bored.
There’s an outright ferocious energy from the outset on “Great No One” as harmonies shine and guitars roar out with reckless abandon. This non-stop momentum is only enhanced by endless subtle pop touches that make the song warm and more frantic, especially as it soars right into its loud finale. This sound hits a stomping weight on “Future Me Hates Me” as The Beths move straight through power-chord rock to fuzzed out indie with depth. With the vocals providing a tonal counterpoint to the harsh guitar tones, there’s a great tension in any moment of the song to make it all feel raw and exciting.
As the drums hit an absolute freak-out on “Uptown Girl,” everyone joins in on the fun to match the song’s message of cutting loose for once. Even the feedback and mix seems to increase as the song moves on, as the sound is almost overpowering by the final seconds. “You Wouldn’t Like Me” keeps things to the point in its catchy but ultimately much more straightforward rock. Nevertheless it’s the Beths’ tireless hope and spirit that makes the whole song that much more contagious.
While it’s hard to see “Not Running” as a necessarily fresh take on anything, there’s at least an unhinged quality to their melancholic rock to keep it intriguing. This said, the drums are so loose and explosive here that any fan of beats will have a day just following along to this part of the track. This however is why it’s just as fun to hear The Beths shifting moods on “Little Death” as their heavy drums leave so much of the song to open ambiance. And all of that makes the final drop so much more satisfying, as every ounce of tension and frustration is let out in a burning chorus.
“Happy Unhappy” reflects on the unrealistic expectations we create from movies and television as their accessible pop lets them play with more unusual lyrical play. Between all the dynamics stops in the song’s momentum and the rare pointed uses of their New Zealand accents, the song feels like a calculated mix of sounds. As “River Run Lvl 1” emerges from its folksy demo, the atypical rhythms find it quickly spreading into a fresh and unexpected pop direction. This sparse arranging soon opens up to massive rock energy for a track that really lets you have it while still giving the right weight to each section to make it fun.
While there’s an effortless and exciting pop energy to a song like “Whatever” that surely would slay audiences in a live setting, it plays as more of a mixed-bag on record. Though it’s indeed infectious, there’s just too much of a sense of derivative rock to help it stand out. For their final notes however “Less Than Thou” sees The Beths snowballing their sound from start to finish to create a totally cataclysmic energy to send things off.
Words by Owen Maxwell