Beach Fossils | What A Pleasure

Captured Tracks (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  February 23, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

This EP is an eight-song follow-up to Beach Fossils' homonymous full-length debut from 2010, and these days, Dustin Payseur and his band of chilled-out '80s worshippers have their sound down pat. "Lovely" would be a criminal understatement: these tunes unfold majestically, each sheet of shimmering reverb and every half-yawned, embryonic vocal melody unwrapping sonic mysteries you never knew existed. It's a fragile house of cards glued together with dry, feather-light bass and super-clean guitars, and the emotional vulnerability is tangible. Sometimes that results in sexy immediacy, as on "Fall Right In," an Arctic manifesto of guitar chime and bass sigh with toy-like programmed percussion tripping over itself on its way to the chorus: "I'll do it again/I'll fall right in," Payseur sings, rubbing his eyes. You'd dance if you weren't so sad — this is a meditative, lonely-hearted dance party built for one. But What a Pleasure loses its luster as its tracks wind on, recycling guitar progressions and bass riffs like empty soda cans. By the time you reach the closing lament, "Adversity," you might feel you're being gently assaulted by a gang of Joy Division b-sides. This Pleasure is known, but in the end it overstays its welcome.
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