The Beths return with 3rd LP, ‘Expert In A Dying Field’


Recommended Tracks: “Knees Deep”, “When You Know You Know”, “I Told You That I Was Afraid”
Artists You May Like: Babe Corner, Snail Mail, Wet Leg

How does it feel to be an expert in a dying field? Maybe you recently went through a breakup, like The Beths‘ Elizabeth Stokes. Or, maybe you earned a bachelor’s degree in a classic (dead) language, like Latin. Either way, you now have a wealth of knowledge that is virtually useless. Throughout the New Zealand quartet’s 3rd LP, Expert In A Dying Field, Stokes wonders what she should do with this knowledge, these memories of her past relationship. During the opening title track, she notes, “I can close the door on us / But the room still exists…And I can burn the evidence / But I can’t burn the pain / And I can’t forget it.” She comes to the realization: “Love is learned over time / ‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field.”

The Beths’ 3rd album (via Carpark Records, Ivy League Records), preceded by 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers and 2018’s Future Me Hates Me, is not your typical breakup album. Stokes is not vengeful, and is not particularly interested in rehashing what went wrong. There are moments throughout the album during which the songwriter reflects on the end of the relationship, but she seems to be nearing acceptance. During “Head In The Clouds,” she sings, “I could be on my knees / Giving it my best defense / Praying for it not to end / If it went differently, we could be the finest friends.” She removes her rose-colored glasses and sings, “Suddenly I can see / Oh, the way it’s always been / Vicious with a rosy tint.” 

The talented vocalist and guitarist is joined by guitarist Jonathan Pearce, bassist Benjamin Sinclair, and drummer Tristan Deck. The Beths are known for their electrifying genre of indie-rock, and Expert “houses 12 tight, guitar-heavy songs that worm their way into your head.” Some of these tracks, like “Knees Deep,” are shockingly upbeat, considering the lyrical content. Stokes admits that she is too afraid to say what she’s been thinking, accepting that she never has and never will; she is ashamed that she is only knees deep. Later, during “Best Left,” the songwriter realizes that some things are better left unsaid. Over a dizzying instrumental that fades in and out, she sings, “Some things are best left to rot.”

Ultimately, Stokes is most interested in what comes after the fallout, even if it’s riddled with uncertainty. She sings, “The winter knocked me out / Frozen in an avalanche of doubt / It seemed like every road was buried under snow / So I thought / Better to forget the heat of the sunlight on my skin / I feel it coming, but I’m scared to let it in / This change in the weather.” “Change In The Weather” is even optimistic, proposing the idea that “Maybe things’ll get better.” By “When You Know You Know,” the songwriter is committed to “a new expedition,” and has warmed up to the idea of “a solo mission.” She sings, “I can see a way to a new horizon / Squinting through the clouds ’til it burns my eyes and / Every other star is a sun that’s rising.” However, even as she makes her way to this new horizon, she can’t leave it all behind. During a nostalgic closing track, she asks, “Do you feel it? / Feel it like you did back then? / We were young / We were cruel and mistaken / And I know it more with every passing day / Though it hurts / I still love you the same.”

Keep Up With The Beths: Instagram // Twitter // Website



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