|2022||Expert In A Dying Field||The Beths||★★★★||80||Rock||Indie Rock||Jangle Pop|
Expert In A Dying Field represents pretty much a best-case-scenario for what is essentially a pretty basic, modern power pop album.
The songs are really fun and playful and the vocals warm, welcoming and familiar. There’s a good mix of lead guitar work and solos that go hard enough to stand out and add color, but aren’t loud enough to take over or drown out the softer, jangle pop elements and twangy, underlying guitar work. Most of the songs are upbeat and fast paced, but there’s a mix of more mid-tempoed tracks mixed in which prevent everything from sounding the same or repetitive.
This is the first album by The Beths I’ve listened to, but they pretty instantly drew me in. The title track — one of my favorite songs of the year — is reminiscent of a New Pornographers/Neko Case track with energetic drums and guitar, cheerful vocals and harmonies and a killer hook that gets caught in your head pretty quickly. Most songs on the album follow a similar recipe — “Knees Deep,” “Head In The Clouds,” “Best Left” and “Change In The Weather” all being prime examples — but the formula works really well, bringing the best elements of contemporaries like Alvvays, Real Estate and others.
“Your Side,” and “When You Know You Know” are a bit less energetic but still utilize those jangle guitar riffs and classic pop choruses. The final track, “2 am,” has a more spacey vibe than the rest, with strings and distant, lonely guitar work that slowly climaxes in a way that serves as a great ending to the record.
The straightforwardness of the indie rock elements across Expert In A Dying Field is just charming. The Beths aren’t trying to be heavier than they need to, or to add dreamy or poppy production elements unnecessarily. Maybe it is a little basic, but it all seems pretty authentic, and ultimately is one of 2022’s triumphs.