Tag Archives: nostalgia

“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire and ice — there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”

Frank Zappa, in his 1989 autobiography, “The Real Frank Zappa Book”

Frank Zappa – end of the world

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Beach Fossils, “Fall Right In”

I’m not a big Beach Fossils fan. In fact, the majority of what I’ve listened to by the Brooklyn band strikes me as too earnest and sometimes sappy — particularly on its second album, “Clash the Truth,” which dropped in February. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given band founder Dustin Payseur’s apparent fear of anything other than Peter Buckian guitar bell tones — almost to the point of sounding like alarms going off — and singer Payseur’s general lack of vocal charisma.

Even hiring a real drummer, Tommy Gardner, for its sophomore outing (Payseur used a drum machine on the band’s 2010 self-titled debut) fails to help matters, as Gardner itches and scratches at the proceedings, but rarely rests on a particular beat (and this being a particular-beat kind of band). Until the balance is restored — or perhaps the studioheads finally mike the drums right — on “Birthday,” the first repeatedly listenable track, it’s as if Gardner is suffering under a spell of paranoia, deploying his sticks in jitters.

Regardless, “Fall Right In,” from the 2011 EP, “What a Pleasure,” is a perfect nugget of pop goodness. It’s sort of an exception to the rule. Sure, it’s jangle pop as all hell, but Payseur sounds genuinely interested in what he’s doing. And John Pena proves he’s a bass-playing badass on this song. Too bad he quit the band.

I’m a sucker for these thinly disguised power ballads when they’re done just right: breezy, sunny and fanciful … like a fresh coat of nostalgia, before it hardens. Others that come to mind are Youth Group’s “Shadowland“; White Rabbits’ “The Plot“; Phoenix’s “One Time Too Many“; and, from the I’m-not-the-only-one category, Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks.”

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