Album Review – Jump Rope Gazers by The Beths (2020) (Carpark Records)

2018’s debut album, Future Me Hates Me, was a superb example of  a band can thriving on an aesthetic that combined nothing more than talent, enthusiasm and a production that  refrained from polishing any edges. It all felt like some perfect natural musical reaction, to a secret something that only the band knew about.

As a sophomore, Jump Rope Glazers avoids the ‘difficult’ tag. For this is an album which, if not quite better than the debut, is certainly of comparable brilliance and very definitely has a declared sense of more.

Initially, it has more control. A feel of that extra maturity that can justify tempo reduction and allow tracks like the title track, Do You Want Me Now (see below) and You Are A Beam of Light, to thrive on a paired down beauty created from nothing more that Liz Stokes truly poised vocals accompanied by uncluttered jangled riffs. This controlled beauty was hinted at, but was not so memorable in the debut and is the definitive example of the sense that ‘less is more’.

Similarly the sense of ‘more’ is created in the tracks where the band let rip and the rock wins it’s ever present, intra-The Beths battle, against pop. Tracks such as the opener I’m Not Getting Excited (see below) and Mars The God Of War, imbue extra layers of noise and guitars to most that they have released before.

In relation to bangers, ear-worms, single fodder, or whatever not quite appropriate words you might use to describe the memorable tracks that make an album, this simply has more than most albums you have heard, or are likely to hear, in 2020.

These are best represented by Acrid, Out Of Sight and the album’s true stand out of Just Shy of Sure (see below) that continue the trademark, slightly ramshackle melodies of the debut. They are akin to having an old friend make a long awaited return to your friends circle. It’s great to see them and it works with immediacy.

The Beths were great on their 2018 debut. They are equally superb today and the subtle, incremental change seen on this album means that they have plenty of places to explore a potential that would appear to have few limitations.

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