Mojo (UK)

BEACH FOSSILS

- Andrew Male

From New York, Slowdive and Foxygen-assisted summer psych for the naturally humble. “I WAS LIVING IN THIS WEIRD PURGATORY, ALONE WITH MY THOUGHTS AT 4AM.”

Raised in the southern Bible-belt heartland of Charlotte, North Carolina, Dustin Payseur never felt entirely at home. “There wasn’t a lot of art and culture,” he explains, from his Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment. “Plus, I was going to a Catholic school and just hated it. I’d come home and blast Marilyn Manson. That was my rebellion.” Then, something changed. “I said to my parents, You know I’ve always kind of hated it here, but now I think I like it. My dad was like, ‘Don’t ever say that!’” A pair of liberal musicians, who’d been playing their Pavement, Pixies and Portishead records while he was rebelling with Nine Inch Nails, Payseur’s parents were insistent their son get away from North Carolina. So, at the age of 22, Payseur upped sticks and moved to New York. “I didn’t know anybody,” he explains. “I’d go to shows every night asking if anybody wanted to play music with me [until] I just thought, I’ll do it myself.” The band Payseur created alone in his Bushwick bedroom was Beach Fossils. Synthesisi­ng an effortless, diaphanous psychedeli­c West Coast sound born of solitude, his love of ’60s baroque pop, and studious readings of his father’s copy of the classical Chinese text the Daodejing, many of the songs on Beach Fossils’ self-titled 2010 debut were an attempt to deal with loneliness and periods of depression. “I was trying to paint a picture of a better place,” he says, “because I was living in this weird purgatory, alone with my thoughts at four in the morning.” Gradually, however, Beach Fossils transforme­d from solo project to full-time touring band. Now, with the group’s third album, Somersault, Payseur has collaborat­ed on the music with bassist Jack Doyle Smith and guitarist Tommy Davidson. “It helped pull me out of [depression],” he explains. “Before, I’d get stuck on an idea. Now we’ll throw it around and it breathes new life into the song.” Arguably Beach Fossils’ finest LP to date, Somersault was three years in the making. The album was recorded twice, first on digital by Payseur, then again, on tape, by their producer, Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, with Payseur later meshing the two versions together. Informed by everything from The Wrecking Crew and Portishead’s trilogy of albums to that particular drum sound on David Porter and Isaac Hayes’ soul production­s, Somersault also features guest slots from Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell and Memphis rapper Cities Aviv, but at heart it holds hard to Beach Fossils’ distinct summer psych sound, of a solitary presence caught in thought, removed from the outside world. “I’ve always been big into Eastern philosophy,” explains Payseur. “Daoism is about trying not to force things and just letting it come to you. If it’s going to be real and original you only have yourself to turn to.”

 ??  ?? Shore thing: backseat drivers Beach Fossils touch the leather (from left) Tommy Davidson, Dustin Payseur and Jack Doyle Smith.
Shore thing: backseat drivers Beach Fossils touch the leather (from left) Tommy Davidson, Dustin Payseur and Jack Doyle Smith.

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