So Kiwi it hurts. In a fantastic, life-affirming, charming, self-deprecating manner, replete with self-aware ironic smile tugging at the corner of the mouth.
I love the timing & key changes. Top notch indie jangly guitar-pop tending rock.
"I Want to Listen" , and "Change in the Weather" Liz channels Anna Burch and manages to upstage her.
I'm off to mix some drinks with my messages, then I might pin some hopes to the wrong pincushion! ❤
Favorite track: Your Side.
With each record, The Beths get better. Their first album blew us all away with its honesty, emotional vulnerability, and well-crafted sounds. Their sophomore album took it a step further. And through Liz Stokes's sensitive songwriting, Jonathon Pearce's artisanal production, and the whole group's distinctly Kiwi sound, this third LP confirms that The Beths are simply one of the best bands in the world.
Favorite track: Knees Deep.
On The Beths’ new album Expert In A Dying Field, Elizabeth Stokes’ songwriting positions her somewhere between being a novelist and a documentarian. The songs collected here are autobiographical, but they’re also character sketches of relationships -- platonic, familial, romantic -- and more importantly, their aftermaths. The shapes and ghosts left in absences. The question that hangs in the air: what do you do with how intimately versed you’ve become in a person, once they’re gone from your life? The third LP from the New Zealand quartet houses 12 jewels of tight, guitar-heavy songs that worm their way into your head, an incandescent collision of power-pop and skuzz. With Expert, The Beths wanted to make an album meant to be experienced live, for both the listeners and themselves. They wanted it to be fun in spite of the prickling anxiety throughout the lyrics, the fear of change and struggle to cope. Most of Expert was recorded at guitarist Jonathan Pearce’s studio on Karangahape Road in Ta–maki Makaurau, Aotearoa (Auckland, New Zealand) toward the end of 2021, until they were interrupted by a four-month national lockdown. They traded notes remotely for months, songwriting from afar and fleshing out the arrangements alone. The following February The Beths left the country to tour across the US, and simultaneously finish mixing the album on the road, culminating in a chaotic three-day studio mad-dash in Los Angeles. There, Expert finally became the record they were hearing in their heads. The album’s title track “Expert In A Dying Field” introduces the thesis for the record: “How does it feel to be an expert in a dying field? How do you know it’s over when you can’t let go?” Stokes asks. “Love is learned over time ‘til you’re an expert in a dying field.” The rest is a capsule of The Beths’ most electrifying and exciting output, a sonic spectrum: “Silence is Golden,” with its propulsive drum line and stop-start staccato of a guitar line winding up and down, is one of the band’s sharpest and most driving. “Knees Deep” was written last minute, but yields one of the best guitar lines on Expert. Stokes strings it all together through her singular songwriting lens, earnest and selfeffacing, zeroing in on the granules of doubt and how they snowball. Did I do the wrong thing? Or did you? That insecurity and thoughtfulness, translated into universality and understanding, has been the guiding light of The Beths’ output since 2016. In the face of pain, there’s no dwelling on internal anguish -- instead, through The Beths’ music, our shortcomings are met with acceptance. And Expert In A Dying Field is the most tactile that tenderness has been.
released September 16, 2022
Elizabeth Stokes - Guitar, Vocal
Jonathan Pearce - Guitar, Vocal, Keys
Benjamin Sinclair - Bass, Vocal
Tristan Deck - Drums, Vocal
All songs written by Elizabeth Stokes, except ‘Change In The Weather’ co-written by Jonathan Pearce
All songs arranged by The Beths
This album was primarily recorded at Jonathan’s studio on Karangahape Road in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa between June 2021 and February 2022. Tracking was interrupted
by a national lockdown that lasted from 18 August 2021 until 30 November 2021,
but work continued at a distance, in our homes. Jonathan began mixing in his studio in mid January, and on 4 February we left the country for the first time in two and a half years to tour the USA. Album production continued with Jonathan mixing in hotel rooms and green rooms and in the back of the tour bus. Additional vocals, guitars and synths were also tracked on the road, and we sent mixes to Bevan Smith and Oliver Devlin in Poneke, Aotearoa to be developed and finalised. At the end of the tour, Jonathan completed the mixing in three days at Future Classic studios in Los Angeles, California.
Engineered and produced by Jonathan Pearce
Additional vocal production by Elizabeth Stokes
Tracks 6, 8, and 11 mixed by Jonathan Pearce
Track 9 mixed by Jonathan Pearce, additional mixing by Bevan Smith
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 mixed by Bevan Smith and Jonathan Pearce
Tracks 5 and 12 mixed by Jonathan Pearce and Oliver Devlin, additional mixing by Bevan Smith
Mastering by Joe Lambert
Additional synths with assistance from Matteo De Lurgio on Track 7, 9, 10
Album artwork and design by Lily Paris West
Polaroid photography by The Beths, except group shots by Garyun Young
Thanks to Jacob Snell and Apple Bagios at MAM, Anthony Metcalf, Todd Hyman, Steph Salas, Alec Moss, Beth Townsend, and Zeeshan Shad at Carpark Records, Chris Maund, Marihuzka Cornelius, Madeleine O'Gorman, Andy Kelly and Heidi Ettema at Ivy League, Andy Moss, Josh Clarke and Dylan Leggett at Melodic, Joren Huevels, Casey O’Shaughnessy, Marshall Betts, Sören Lundberg
Thanks to Alan Holt, Rebekah Ngatae, and the NZ Music Commission, NZ On Air, Creative NZ and APRA
Thanks to Marsha Permadhi, Tess Parker, and all of our families and friends.
Thanks to Bob Frisbee, Larry Killip, Callum Devlin, Annabel Kean, Callum Passells, Simon Gooding, David Parker, Scotty Pearson, James MacDonald, John Kim, Tom Healy, Michael Howell, Sean Martin-Buss, Simon at Jansen Pro Audio, Chad Gillard and Harry White at Future Classic
supported by 672 fans who also own “Expert In A Dying Field”
Start to finish amazing album.
"Belinda Says" hits me right in the feels every time. Molly's range from the first, quiet "moving to the country" part to her last word in "we'll start another life" takes me on a trip I never want to end :) Niko