• Julia Adrien

Album Review - 'Jump Rope Gazers' by The Beths

I don't listen to much music from New Zealand, but when I do, it's gotta be good. TL;DR: Favorite track: "I'm Not Getting Excited" Least favorite track: "Out of Sight" 📱✈️🪐👁️

"I’m Not Getting Excited" Off to a great start with a memorable, catchy melody and evocative lyrics:

“But what is it like, the other side Where all my vital signs aren't fading away? Violent dreams keep me awake I wear the same face in the morning A warning”

This song stands out. I’m going to remember it; I'm going to listen to it many times again later. It's great and I'm grateful. "Dying to Believe" In a July 2020 interview for DIY Mag, lead singer Liz Stokes explains:

"Sometimes you hate a conversation so much it makes you hate yourself. I am extremely non-confrontational in person, so during those conversations my resentment is turned upon myself and my inability to say what I want to. It’s led to some unhealthy friendships lasting perhaps longer than they should have."

I like how this song serves a purpose for a very specific situation. There's also some nice, unexpected sampling happening in the middle, and some more unexpected stuff in verse 3 that I really liked because it caught me off guard. "Jump Rope Gazers" The title song is about falling in love, according to Stokes (DIY Mag, July 2020). It's the most classically pretty song on the album so far. A bit more shoegazey than the other tracks. Different. You really notice Stokes' beautiful voice. The guitar’s doing some 90s things, and I’m not mad about it. "Acrid" Oh, I really like this. It actually has Green Day ish vibes. And in the chorus when she sings “Like a wind blowing in through your cold room,” I really like that melody in particular. She has an amazing vocal range.

"Do You Want Me Now" I’m getting even more 90s vibes actually. It’s a really good song, with lots of good little sub-melodies. It has an emotional topic—according to Stokes, it’s about being fully invested in a relationship when the other person isn’t sure. Favorite lyric from this track:

“In the dead of night I’m a condemned site with the light on.”

"Out of Sight" This is a ‘delicate’ song, perhaps the most minimal on the album. It’s beautiful of course but interestingly, it camouflages next to the other songs instead of standing out. "Don’t Go Away" This is a song about friends moving. I think young people especially can really relate to this. I know a lot of my friends have moved and it always sucks when it happens. Oh yeah, and duh, I also moved really far away myself. I like the slowed and more chaotic version of the chorus in the end too; that’s cool. "Mars the God of War" Immediately I know this is going to be the black sheep song of the album. It’s about fighting over text, through the looking glass of a lot of creative metaphors. Again, I like how it’s specific. "You Are A Beam of Light" Immediately this strikes me as ‘pretty.’ And the tandem vocals are SO pretty. Stokes (DIY Mag, July 2020) says:

“I’ve never said ‘wish you were here’ or ‘wish I was there’ more than I did last year. I wished for teleportation powers so many times, for the power to appear on my friends' doorsteps and tell them things were going to be OK. That sometimes things are hard, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. To the best people.
We treated ‘You Are A Beam of Light’ with care. It’s our first attempt at an ‘acoustic’ song.”

"Just Shy of Sure" Stokes said "Just Shy of Sure" felt like the right note to end on because it’s optimistic pessimism and/or pessimistic optimism; it’s open-ended. It really does have that final track vibe and leaves you looking forward to The Beths’ third album! (Can you believe this is only their second album?! How?!) LISTEN NOW: Jump Rope Gazers by The Beths

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