Beverly

There’s been a trend, one that we wholeheartedly support, towards statements that come in the form of an album. While you see this from certain artists within hip-hop and punk, the vast majority of this movement has been spearheaded by female solo or female-fronted acts. Whether it’s issues related to sex, violence, race, the transgender community, break ups, or the catch-all of empowerment, we feel a bit more alive and inspired when we hear these pieces. Beverly’s The Blue Swell falls into this trend nicely.

For a split second, if you’ve somehow avoided the several singles released, you think the album is going to quickly fall into a Gregorian state of etherealness. “Bulldozer” is named so for a reason though. Thrown into full throttle while steadily rolling down the road, there’s a clear and direct path for Drew Citron’s and Scott Rosenthal’s focus. Captured in the opaqueness of the indie pop glow of “Crooked Cop,” Citron handles what seems to be manipulation within a relationship. She says, “Every time I see you, it makes me sick with desire,” on what could be a lost Smiths track. This bizarre game of power and struggle is deconstructed, and the power shifts into the hands of our protagonist.

From there, you get a fiercer, knuckle-cracking showdown on “You Said It.” Rival factions come eye-to-eye as Drew Citron, backed by her crew, throws some verbal haymakers to shake free of the chains suppressing her. The power to battle outer obstacles comes from inner reflection where contemplation creates a more realized sense of self. You get this on “South Collins,” a track that seems elastic in how thinly stretched it is. It’s a song where you don’t need something extra, but the closing minute or so adds deep layers.

The B-side of the album takes on a decidedly darker mood after the A-side ends on a summer-turned-to-chill note. An eerie sense of danger is captured on “Lake House” as Citron says, “Do not go out at midnight; you don’t know who is waiting by the door.” It’s easy to dismiss the song as a narrative about some nameless town, but it seems to touch on very real dangers faced by certain members of society. By the time “The Smokey Pines” comes around, it’s clear the warmth that you’ve experienced has turned to a lingering cold. Lyrically, the song seems lost in time as it tells a tale about one’s mother finding love late in life – quite observant, but the words are dark. We searched for the meaning behind the song, but found nothing. Obviously something negative went into this union, but we just aren’t 100% sure of what as it patiently pulls itself onward for the closing minutes.

As The Blue Swell begins to close, “You Used to be a Good Girl” raises its fist in the air as an anti-hero power anthem. Former good girls are being harped at as they are unrecognizable while laughing at the established ideals of expectation. A tongue-in-cheek delivery provides a list of names that have progressed from being good girls, but honestly they’re probably great women now. So when an about face is taken on “Don’t Wanna Fight,” it seems a little surprising. You kind of don’t believe it since Citron has taken on all comers, but maybe that’s why the duo are done with the fighting for now. Is there one more left in the tank? Sure. But it’s a good thing the person being addressed doesn’t come around often. Sometimes it’s just best to move on.

The Blue Swell is out now. You can pick it up from the band’s bandcamp page.