What do you get when you take some university jazz students and a former folk singer and put them in a band together? If you guessed guitar pop perfection then I’d suspect you’ve already heard The Beths debut album Future Me Hates Me. Hailing from Auckland New Zealand, The Beths were first introduced to the world via the Warm Blood EP in 2016. Straight out of the gates The Beths appeared fully formed with a clear vision and a knack for writing catchy ear-worms. In the two years since things have only gotten better on their new full length debut. Sharper production this time around accentuates the buzzing energy and melodic riffs that fill every corner of this record. Vocalist Elizabeth Stokes has a talent for crafting catchy singalong choruses while the band provides Beach Boys-esque harmonies and enough guitar grit to make Stephen Malkmus proud.
While many indie bands of late are fronted by listless, nonchalant vocals buried in the mix, The Beths take their cues from 90s heroines Sleater Kinney and The Breeders. Stokes‘ vocals are out front demanding attention and while they may come across as fun and carefree, a more detailed look at the lyrics show her songs to be about anxious people and self doubt. This is best showcased on the album’s namesake “Future Me Hates Me” where our protagonist risks potential future heartbreak for a new chance at love. Over ten songs the guitars vary from jangley to bruising and The Beths effortlessly switch from glittering power pop to dissonant indie rock.
Other high points include the chiming indie pop of “Happy Unhappy“, the melodic rush of opener “Great No One“, the charismatic charm of “Whatever” and anthemic closer “Less Than Thou“. Throughout the album the themes of uncertainty, regret and self-defeating anticipation ripple through the lyrics. Even the album artwork depicts a woman’s reflection casting a judgmental expression upon her insecure counterpart in the real world. The lines blur between her honest and disarming vulnerable side and witty self depreciating lyrics revealing a tender human element underneath the fun and bubbly exterior of these songs. Future Me Hates Me ends up being a startling accomplished debut, packed with memorable songs you’ll be humming long after the last notes ring out leaving little doubt The Beths have delivered one the years finest albums of 2018.
Highlights: Future Me Hates Me, Whatever, Happy Unhappy, Great No One
For Fans of: Rolling Backouts Coastal Fever, Alvvays, Frankie Cosmos