The Beths: “We’re really nervous about letting our experimentation become self-indulgent”

The Beths
(Image credit: Frances Carter)

Having been largely unable to tour their second album, 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers, The Beths were determined to make up for lost time with its follow-up. Expert In A Dying Field was written in the mind-numbing throes of the pandemic’s peak – when the Kiwi power-pop outfit were truly pining for their return to the stage – and as a result, almost every second of the record feels tailored to be belted out in front of an audience.

You can hear it in the tasteful crunch of the riffs on ‘Head In The Clouds’, and in the warbly, almost jittery lead passage on ‘Best Left’. It’s there on the pseudo-psychedelic wailing that steals the stow on the back end of ‘2am’, and in the luminous pop-punk vibe the band explore on ‘A Passing Rain’ – and, of course, in the absolute sonic calamity that is the tongue-in-cheek thrash-pop banger ‘Silence Is Golden’. On that track in particular, frontwoman Liz Stokes tells Australian Guitar there’s “a musical irony” to it, with “the tension and the loudness – a very controlled kind of chaos – coming from a place of actually wanting to be quiet and alone”.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…