Posts Tagged ‘Future Me Hates Me’

Elizabeth Stokes named her band after herself, or, rather, her nickname. So it should come as no surprise, then, that the debut album from New Zealand-based rockers The Beths, Future Me Hates Me, is sharply self-aware. Stokes, a music teacher who quit her day job to tour the world with The Beths, pairs clever, refreshingly straightforward lyrics with uber-catchy guitar pop, and she never stutters in delivering even the most blunt assessments of her doubts, fears and anxieties. “Sometimes I think I’m doing fine / I think I’m pretty smart,” she sings on the album’s title track before, later, completing the thought: “Oh then the walls become thin / And somebody gets in / I’m defenseless.” On dizzying love song “Little Death,” she captures and tames all the butterflies swarming around in her stomach: “And the red spreads to my cheeks / You make me feel three glasses in.”

The Beths sound as if they’re already three albums in, playing with the musical and lyrical finesse of a much older and more experienced band. Every single song on this record arrives with as many contagious hooks and honest confessions as on the sparkly, frank “Little Death” and the toe-tap-inducing examination of overthinking “Future Me Hates Me.” Indie rock is alive and well in Oceania—The Beths, like their Australian neighbors Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, hit it out of the park in crafting one of the sturdiest rock debuts of the year.

“Little Death” is taken from The Beths‘ album, “Future Me Hates Me,” out now on Carpark Records.

A delightful pop collection full of power chords and sing-alongs about the confusion, angst, and pain as we fall in and out of love. Hard not to smile, even while you’re crying. The Beths have a way of giving luminescence and pep to even the most harrowing aspects of love and human relation; bright, bespoke chord progressions and glittering harmonies as the backdrop to self-destruction, the grief of loss, and the pain that can come with finding yourself with a crush. “Broke every window pane/so I can feel the cold rain/when I lie in bed catching death, trying to wash it all away…”

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Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and glasses

Elizabeth Stokes named her band after herself, or, rather, her nickname. So it should come as no surprise, then, that the debut album from New Zealand-based rockers The Beths, Future Me Hates Me, is sharply self-aware. Stokes, a music teacher who quit her day job to tour the world with The Beths, pairs clever, refreshingly straightforward lyrics with uber-catchy guitar pop, and she never stutters in delivering even the most blunt assessments of her doubts, fears and anxieties. “Sometimes I think I’m doing fine / I think I’m pretty smart,” she sings on the album’s title track before, later, completing the thought: “Oh then the walls become thin / And somebody gets in / I’m defenseless.” On dizzying love song “Little Death,” she captures and tames all the butterflies swarming around in her stomach: “And the red spreads to my cheeks / You make me feel three glasses in.”

The Beths sound as if they’re already three albums in, playing with the musical and lyrical finesse of a much older and more experienced band. Every single song on this record arrives with as many contagious hooks and honest confessions as on the sparkly, frank “Little Death” and the toe-tap-inducing examination of overthinking “Future Me Hates Me.” Indie rock is alive and well in Oceania—The Beths, like their Australian neighbors Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, hit it out of the park in crafting one of the sturdiest rock debuts of the year.

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and night

The first time I wrote about The Beths “Future Me Hates Me”—which is already near the top of my own personal Best of the Year list 2018 , I zeroed in on one specific aspect of it: the album’s sense of melancholy. And while that’s undeniably present on the record—on the rip-roaring “Uptown Girl,” Elizabeth Stokes vows to “drink the whole town dry”—but what’s also present is a sense of elation. The starry-eyed deep-in-love ballad “Little Death” offers a deeply earnest and touching depiction of true romance, Stokes gently singing, “Your smile, it makes me weak/ and the red spreads to my cheeks/ you make me feel three glasses in,” as the band steadily accelerates behind her, as if matching the rhythms of her heart. The whole record is shot through with deceptively complicated musicianship and attention to craft; what at first feel like full-blast indie rock songs soon open up to reveal deft, complicated guitar work, clever, counterintuitive structures—like the way the coulda-been-on-Jade-Tree rave-up “Not Running” slams the brakes midway through to turn the melody over to group-sung a cappella vocals.  It’s pitch perfect power-pop with smart, sad lyrics and insanely catchy hooks.

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The more you listen, the more you notice the little filigrees and pivots that usually start showing up on a band’s fifth record, not their first—which is both an accomplishment and a challenge. If The Beths are this good already, just imagine where they’ll be four albums from now.

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Upon first listen, The Beths’ debut album, Future Me Hates Me, bleeds together too much, the songs slipping imperceptibly from one to the next. But soon enough, the bubble-grunge riffs and Motown-backup-singer “whoa-ohs” start to distinguish themselves. The New Zealand band has two gears: The first is a more classically pop-oriented retro sound, like a ’60s girl group doing the shimmy-shimmy-cocoa-pop but with guitars and a shoegaze influence. The second is a caffeinated ’90s alterna-rock head rush, with Superchunk-level riffs and Velocity Girl vocals courtesy of singer-guitarist Elizabeth Stokes.

It can tend toward the simplistic—the title track apes early Weezer, for example—but the middle of the album (particularly “Not Running”) shows that when the band embraces its more rambunctious and harder-edged sound, it captures something powerful. By the time the last notes of the slow-build barnburner “Less Than Thou” close things out, Stokes’ mission is clear: a joyous refusal to stop riffing, no matter how heartbroken.

The Beths‘ forthcoming album, “Future Me Hates Me.”

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and glasses

Everyone idealises having a crush until you actually get one, and realise that it’s actually pretty exhausting, agonising over what type of text to send and why they haven’t responded and whether it’s correct to be obsessing so much. “Happy Unhappy”, the wonderful new single from Auckland four-piece The Beths, pinpoints this exact feeling of frustration perfectly.

“You’re in my brain taking up space I need for delivering lies and suppressing the sighs”, sings lead singer/guitarist Elizabeth Stokes on the song’s wonderfully acerbic pre-chorus, before pivoting to something altogether much sweeter: “and for navigating escape when I get lost in your eyes, it’s taking up all of my time”. The track deals with this frustrating duality perfectly; it’s nice to care about someone, but it’s a real pain too.

“Happy Unhappy” is another winner from The Beths, after 2016’s excellent EP Warm Blood, and the equally great singles “Great No One” and “Future Me Hates Me”. “Happy Unhappy” is taken from The Beths’ debut album Future Me Hates Me, which is out on August 10th on Carpark Records, and features both “Great No One” and “Future Me Hates Me”. It’s gonna be a good one.

The Beths occupy a warm, energetic sonic space between joyful hooks, sun-soaked harmonies, and acerbic lyrics. Their debut album Future Me Hates Me, forthcoming on Carpark Records, delivers an astonishment of roadtrip-ready pleasures, each song hitting your ears with an exhilarating endorphin rush like the first time you heard Slanted and Enchanted or “Cannonball.”

Front and center on these ten infectious tracks is lead singer and primary songwriter Elizabeth Stokes. Stokes has previously worked in other genres within Auckland’s rich and varied music scene, recently playing in a folk outfit, but it was in exploring the angst-ridden sounds of her youth that she found her place. “Fronting this kind of band was a new experience for me,” says Stokes. “I never thought I had the right voice for it.”

From the irresistible title track to future singles “Happy Unhappy” and “You Wouldn’t Like Me,” Stokes commands a vocal range that spans from the brash confidence of Joan Jett to the disarming vulnerability of Jenny Lewis. Further honeying Future Me Hates Me’s dark lyrics that explore complex topics like being newly alone and the self-defeating anticipation of impending regret, ecstatic vocal harmonies bubble up like in the greatest pop and R+B of the ‘60s, while inverting the trope of the “sad dude singer accompanied by a homogenous girl-sound.”

All four members of The Beths studied jazz at university, resulting in a toolkit of deft instrumental chops and tricked-out arrangements that operate on a level rarely found in guitar-pop. Beths guitarist and studio guru Jonathan Pearce (whose other acts as producer include recent Captured Tracks signing Wax Chattels) brings it all home with an approach that’s equal parts seasoned perfectionist and D.I.Y.

“There’s a lot of sad sincerity in the lyrics,” she continues, “that relies on the music having a light heart and sense of humor to keep it from being too earnest.” Channeling their stew of personal-canon heroes while drawing inspiration from contemporaries like Alvvays and Courtney Barnett, The Beths serve up deeply emotional lyrics packaged within heavenly sounds that delight in probing the limits of the pop form. “That’s another New Zealand thing,” Stokes concludes with a laugh. “We’re putting our hearts on our sleeves—and then apologizing for it.” The result is nothing less than one of the standout records of 2018.

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“Happy Unhappy” is taken from The Beths‘ forthcoming album, “Future Me Hates Me.”