The long-awaited return of Brooklyn's Beach Fossils, Somersault showcases a band in bloom. Charting into new musical territory with a refined songwriting style, it's an album that captures flashes of life in New York grounded in personal experience. As the band's first release on Dustin Payseur's new label Bayonet Records, which he co-owns with wife Kate Garcia - the group made the most of their newfound independence, investing ample time in expanding its range both musically and lyrically. While Payseur handled the bulk of the songwriting duties in the past, Somersault is a true collaboration between the founding member and bandmates, Jack Doyle Smith and Tommy Davidson. Augmented with more complex instrumentation, including string arrangements, piano, harpsichord, flute, and sax, the new songs offer multi-layered pop guided by sharp, poignant, and honest lyrics.
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, most from the original master tapes or best sources available. The best pre-1965 Beach Boys album featured their brilliant number one single "I Get Around," as well as other standout cuts in the beautifully sad "Wendy," "Little Honda" (one of their best hot rod tunes, covered by the Hondells for a hit), and their remake of the late-'50s doo wop classic "Hushabye." The nostalgic "All Summer Long," another great production, seemed (whether intentionally or not) like a sort of farewell to the frivolous California beach culture that had supplied the lyrical grist for most of their music up to this point, with a longing, regretful chorus that was totally at odds with the bouncy arrangement. Other relatively little-known treasures are the sumptuous ballad "Girls on the Beach," with some of their best early harmonizing, and "Don't Back Down," with uncommonly anxious lyrics. You can't give an unqualified high rating, however, to an album that also contained such disposable filler as the "Our Favorite Recording Sessions" comedy bit and "Do You Remember?," a "let's-pay-tribute-to-rock's-early-days" number with a sh*t-eating grin wide enough to qualify as an oldies radio ID jingle.