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The Blue Swell

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Album Review

After recording the first Beverly album with Frankie Rose on board, Drew Citron struck out on her own for the band's follow-up, 2016's The Blue Swell. Not exactly alone, since she had bassist/guitarist Scott Rosenthal along to help out, but the vision is all hers this time. On the album, the duo takes a step away from the pounding noise pop of Careers in favor of something more nuanced and bigger-sounding at the same time. There's still some of the earlier sound buried in the band's DNA, but the guitars are just as likely to be jangly as they are noisy, the tempos are more in the midrange instead of fast and frantic, and Citron's vocals have a dreamier, sweeter quality throughout. While many bands have failed while making this kind of transition from scrappy to sophisticated, Beverly pull it off really well thanks to a few important factors. The production may be more expansive and a little slicker, but it never tips over into blandness. The effects, especially reverb, are used perfectly, the huge sound of the guitars serves the songs well, and the focus on Citron's voice at the center of the mixes puts her exactly where she should be. The songs themselves are very strong too, with Citron dispensing some lyrical nuggets of wisdom while writing lots of very sharp hooks and melodies. "Victoria," a co-write with Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Kip Berman, is a perfect dream pop song that sounds like the Breeders on a sugar high, the rocked-out "You Used to Be a Good Girl" provides a nostalgic jolt of punky energy, "Lake House" is a propulsive bit of post-punk gloom, and "Crooked Cop" has a nice blend of Ride-like dream pop and peppy almost country-rock with a lovely vocal from Citron. There are also a couple tunes ("South Collins" and "The Smokey Pines") that take a detour into hazy ballad territory, the kind of cloudy, soft-as-snow place where one might see Julee Cruise hanging out with Liz Fraser. These provide a nice balance to the rest of the record and show that Beverly have plenty of range. When you put together songs that sound great and have catchy melodies and smart lyrics too, it's hard to go wrong. Add in Citron's pleasant dream of a voice and Beverly really have a lot going in their favor. The Blue Swell is a very strong follow-up to Careers, and definitively positions them as one of the best guitar pop bands around.

Customer Reviews

Yeah - It’s great.

A perfect departure from their first album. Was the band feeling confident and calling upon wider inspiration from their favorite records and songwriters, but still on point for staying essentially Beverly? Yes.

What I loved about the first album is that it was locked on target and could be played on repeat all afternoon into the night. This album has the same capacity. Bulldozer (the perfect propellant first track here) can easily start up again after the end of the album’s gorgeous song I Don’t Want to Fight, making for another great record to have on endlessly.

Where do you fit Beverly in your library? The Lush and Kim Deal meets JAMC echoes are still here, but with The Blue Swell, Beverly now sit with more lyrical and melodic partners like early Stereolab, Belle & Sebastian, Neko Case, and others. I won’t spoil it with mentioning more, because it’s never derivative. It’s like you can tell the band made the album they knew their best friends wanted to hear. A+

Very surprised

Very surprised there aren’t more reviews! Beverly has such a dynamic sound that sort of reminds me of The Cranberries mixed with Alvvays or Beach House. Love the euphoric sounds 10/10

Biography

Formed: 2013 in New York, NY [Brooklyn]

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

The noise pop group Beverly blend '80s indie pop (Shop Assistants) and '90s alternative (the Breeders) into a catchy, happy mix that sounds very much at home in the 2010s. Initially featuring indie icon Frankie Rose on drums and vocals and vocalist/guitarist Drew Citron, the group formed during Rose's late-2013 tour. Citron, who had also been in the indie pop group Avan Lava, was playing keyboards and guitar in Rose's band when the two bonded over similar musical tastes and decided to start their...
Full Bio
The Blue Swell, Beverly
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