Album review: Beach Fossil's 'Beach Fossils'

(No Credit)
  Enlarge Photo    
Friday, June 18, 2010


"Beach Fossils"

Kindred spirits: Real Estate, Crystal Stilts, the Cure

Show: With Frog Eyes on Wednesday at DC9. Show starts at 9 p.m. 202-483-5000.

Beach Fossils play songs that shimmer and glide. It's a sound that fits in with a number of current indie-rock microgenres, but the Brooklyn group is not beholden to any single one. This is unquestionably chill-out music, but there's more body and verve than the mostly electronic creations that are categorized as chillwave. The recording quality is lo-fi, but never distractingly so. Any slight background hissing only adds to the intimate, casual feel.

Guitars are never strummed. Individual notes are plucked on single strings, creating ascending and descending melodies made all the more relaxing thanks to a healthy, but not overwhelming, dose of reverb. Frontman Dustin Payseur never emotes much when he sings, squeezing out a high-pitched coo between what sounds like barely separated lips. Then again, he's not exactly dealing with subjects that need much emoting. Such song titles as "Vacation," "Lazy Day" and "Daydream" couldn't be more indicative of their subject matter. "I go uptown on a quiet day/Just to gather my thoughts when I don't know what to say," Payseur murmurs on the latter. That's about the most conflict in any of his songs, but that's exactly what makes them so appealing. This is worry-free music for those vacations and lazy days he sings about.

-- David Malitz

© 2010 The Washington Post Company