The Beths’ debut album was a thrilling success. 2018’s Future Me Hates Me propelled the band as a power-pop darling, granting them the opportunity to tour around the world and open up for rock giants such as Weezer and Death Cab for Cutie.
In their latest full-length Jump Rope Grazers, the band uses the same formula of sun-kissed melodies and hook-laden guitar riffs, but this time with a more refined and balanced sound.
Front woman Elizabeth Stokes’ songwriting is the highlight of this offering. Her sincerity is backed up by a self-deprecating humor that breathes life to every song. Top that with her dynamic falsetto that shines so well under heavy distortion and you have a good brew going.
From the initial lines of “I’m Not Getting Excited”, we see the band’s penchant for irony. A frantic rumbling of guitars swirl around Stokes, but she insists on not getting caught up in all the hype “cause the thrill isn’t mine to invite in”. With the many tour dates and opportunities that came their way during their debut, deep down she’s wary that it could all go away: “I’ll go where it bends and let go of the expectation”.
The album’s tempo slowly peters down in the title track, making way for more introspective cuts. “Jump Rope Gazers” sees the noise take a backseat in a love song that showcases the band’s vocal and lyrical range. Centerpiece “Do You Want Me Now” drives its heavy themes right out of the gates with: “Long distance is the wrong distance.” It explores the misunderstandings that can come about when lovers are far apart. Followed-up by “Out of Sight” which touches on the struggles of keeping a relationship alive when things are clearly on the decline.
The energy picks up again on “Don’t Go Away” with its upbeat pop-rock melody, where Stokes stubbornly begs her friends to stick around. “Mars the God of War” is drenched with fiery distortion and a tinge of angst. It finds her engaging in a flame war online with an ancient deity guiding her.
Jump Rope Gazers is a triumphant sophomore album that highlights The Beths’ as one of the best up and coming bands in indie rock. I should also mention the wonderful work of guitarist Jonathan Pearce, bassist Benjamin Sinclair and drummer Tristan Deck, not only for the stellar work in their instruments but also for the vocal harmonies that elevate each song. The band chemistry is palpable, it feels like a group of friends playing around and having fun, something we could all use nowadays.