Everything old is new again in twenty-first century music, and that’s certainly been the case with eighties fuzz. The sweet alt-sounds that once populated John Hughes movies have come back in a big way – not just with the return of acts from that era like OMD (QRO live review), but also in new bands aping that sound, like New York’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (QRO live review) or Melbourne’s The Temper Trap (QRO live review). New York has naturally been ground zero for all of this, leaving the Big Apple awash in fuzz & buzz. One of those acts in the wash is Beach Fossils, who do very little to stand out from the neo-eighties pack on sophomore release, Clash the Truth.
Note that that statement isn’t true for the opener/title track. High & light, but with pressure, “Clash the Truth” is a fine addition to the neo-eighties stable. But from there on the record rarely if ever breaks from run-of-the-mill sweet fuzz. There’s a country backbeat to the following “Generational Synthetic”, and penultimate washing instrumental “Ascension” is more interesting than most of the Truth tracks with words. Mostly, though, it is relatively unremarkable sounds that you’ve heard before – both decades ago and today.
Like the garage-rock boom of a few years ago (also NYC-centric), what first came off as an inspired revival has been impressing less & less the more acts jump on the bandwagon. To be fair, Clash the Truth is Beach Fossils’ second record, but they definitely went in the direction a lot of people have been going compared to their much more lo-fi and country self-titled debut. There’s not a bad song on Truth, but little to make them stand out from one another or from the crowd.