The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field (Carpark) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, October 6th, 2022  

The Beths

Expert in a Dying Field

Carpark

Sep 20, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Coming after The Beths’ raw and energetic 2018 debut (Future Me Hates Me), the band’s sophomore album, 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers, was a more polished, introspective, and melancholic affair. The lyrics were honest and revealing, reflecting frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes’ hectic experience going on tour and the unexpected longing for normalcy as a result. The band’s third album, Expert in a Dying Field, lies somewhere in between the group’s previous two records, combining the potency of the debut and the heartfelt emotions of Gazers. The tracks explore the ends of relationships, both platonic and romantic, and the mixed-up feelings they bring to the surface.

The opening title track sums up the main idea: “Love is learned over time/‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field.” In a relationship, one learns a lot about their partner—their favorite pastimes, jokes, and deeper thoughts and beliefs. Even after it ends, that knowledge and associated feelings remain. It’s a wistful look at personal connection and the processing of its conclusion. The remaining songs traverse similar territory where “Your Side” is a tragic love song and the closer, “2am,” acts as a reflective and nostalgic ballad.

Sonically, The Beths return to familiar call-and-response vocal harmonies. The riffs are memorable and expressive, especially on the end of “A Passing Rain” where the guitars fully energize Stokes’ vocals. The three singles, which are placed at the beginning of the tracklist, all go over well. Both “Expert in a Dying Field” and “Knees Deep” contain fun dynamic shifts, while “Silence ps Golden” bursts with intensity, reminiscent of cuts off of Future Me Hates Me.

However, Expert in a Dying Field does lag in the second half where the riffs don’t seem to hit as hard. By the time the album reaches “Change in the Weather,” The Beths’ sound begins to lack the contrast needed to close out the record. It may help that the band intended the tracks to be performed and experienced live. In this setting, Jonathan Pearce’s varied guitar work would truly shine. The record is strongest when the band’s bright and spontaneous indie rock acts as a foil to Stokes’ anxiety-filled lyrics. This fusion processes the tangled emotions of lost love and helps make it bearable—something few records can do. (http://thebeths.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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