The Beths set the world alight with their impressive debut, Future Me Hates Me, in 2018. This has naturally led to added pressure for the follow up. After 18 months of touring the world with this blistering debut, the band headed back to the studio to record Jump Rope Gazers.
Their fresh approach to the saturated genre of ‘indie-rock’ remains on their second album, largely thanks to the skills of guitarist Johnathan Pearce. But this record is a slicker more polished affair compared with Future Me Hates Me.
Beginning with the explosive riff of ‘I’m Not Getting Excited’, you could be forgiven for thinking the Auckland band have just picked up where they left off. But vocalist Elizabeth Stokes makes it clear that this album is certainly not just a version 2.0 of her their debut, when she sings, “I’m not getting excited, Cause the thrill isn’t mine to invite in.” Nodding to the fact that they’ve matured both as musicians and songwriters.
Missing loved ones is a theme that features on further tracks in this record, a theme universally understood by touring musicians, but now by the majority of the globe.
The title track is an indie-pop ballad which sees Stokes’ take on the subject of loving from afar and looking at a complex future, “I’ve never been the dramatic type, But if I don’t see our face tonight, I guess I’ll be fine,” she sings.
Continuing this lovesick theme, on ‘Do You Want Me Now’, Stokes pines to a distant lover over warm breezy harmonies. “Long distance is the wrong distance, And there has never been a gulf that’s quite as great, As the one we wished into existence,” she muses.
Whilst ‘Jump Rope Gazers’ lacks the immediacy that their debut album had, it is a flagpost of The Beths’ maturity. The band have acknowledged the times we are in now, and almost prophetically, ‘Jump Rope Gazers’ is a record documenting lockdown separation. It is the perfect soundtrack to this shared human experience.