I Saw Beach Fossils
If you read my previous review of Harlem, about when they rolled over (and sucked) in Columbus, then the scene is pretty much already set for my review of Beach Fossils. It was another lonely Monday night at the Summit, while outside it poured rain until 3rd St. was flooding. Perhaps that kept the kids at bay, at least for a little while, because by the time Dustin Payseur and his band of tightly clothed followers took the stage the club magically filled with those very same kids who were whopping it up for Harlem last month. These were kids I didn’t know. Kids that make me feel young and old simultaneously. Kids that think hats are an acceptable accessory at places other than baseball games and the beach. Really, what’s with the hats? Is Nathan Williams the cause of all this?
I’m assured though that Wavves are not in the slightest responsible for Beach Fossils. Payseur, whom I had the pleasure of speaking with last month in the Agit-Reader, was raised on classic R.E.M., Beat Happening, the Feelies, Orange Juice, Josef K., Pavement b-sides, transcendentalism, Buddhist meditation, haiku, meadow romps and swift breezes, tofu, quinoa, IKEA, Robert Frost, black tea, and ephemeral loves. Does that cover it? I knew that live his recruits tended to speed up the process of enchantment found all over his debut album. While that’s certainly true as there was a particularly manic energy that had the kids up front dancing and shaking (in ways I’ve never seen before – where do they learn this?), the constant was kept in Payseur’s phrasing and playing. Every note from each the two guitars politely crossing paths at just the right moments and intertwining like a cutesy embrace when the opportunity presented itself. Twee as this may sound on paper, it was actually somewhat hypnotic and mesmerizing. I wasn’t expecting this much chemistry from such a young band, so much matured and idyllic songwriting from a kid just getting his wings. And the kids who ate at the band’s bare feet knew as well, that this was a sort of pop utopia, as they went a bit bozo when it came time to play “Vacation,” “Youth,” and the crowd favorite, “Daydream.” I would do this every night if I could. Just look at those song titles – if that’s not heaven on the sand I don’t know what is. Beach Fossils restore faith in the notion that the young are digging into real genuine ideas instead of computer generated trend fodder. There wasn’t a keyboard in sight.