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November 2020
Album review

The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers

Marrying killer pop chops with an honesty and sincerity makes resistance to their charms futile.
Label: Carpark Records
Released: 10th July 2020
Rating: ★★★★★
The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers
Published: 4:47 pm, July 29, 2020Words: Rob Mair.

By the time The Beths had finished a gruelling 18-month stretch promoting 'Future Me Hates Me', they'd jumped from headlining bars on the basement scene to glitzy thousand-cap ballrooms. The success was certainly deserved too, especially due to their Herculean work ethic, which would see them away from home for months at a time.

If they wanted a comfortable life, the quartet could have doubled down on the pop bangers, delivering a similarly frenetic follow-up to 'Future Me Hates Me' that offered up more of the same.

And while 'Jump Rope Gazers' still has plenty of moments of hyperkinetic wonder, by slowing things down a touch, it elevates The Beths to Alvvays levels of greatness, marrying killer pop chops with an honesty and sincerity that makes resistance to their charms futile.

Strangely, the opening salvo does little to point to this stylistic shift. 'I'm Not Getting Excited' might be the group's fastest song to date; a bubble-gum pop-punk number which barely pauses for air, while 'Dying To Believe' merely picks up where 'Future Me Hates Me' left off.

While undeniably fun, they don't match the brilliance of the run of songs from the title track through to 'Out of Sight', however – four songs which are The Beths best work to date. These cuts still possess all the hallmarks of what makes The Beths so great – the glorious harmonies, the sky-scraping melodies and the infectious musical flourishes – but there's so much love and care taken to sell them properly that The Beths manage to wring every drop of emotion out of them.

In particular, 'Do You Want Me Now' is a high watermark, with Liz Stokes' rumination on distance and love and identity a masterclass in songwriting, while its arrangement is so delicately handled it has the fragility of porcelain. There's no doubt that it would have been too lightweight on the primary coloured pop of 'Future Me Hates Me', but here it's the emotional centrepiece of an album that builds on everything they've done before.

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