Beverly is the project of Drew Citron (of art-pop group Avan Lava) and Frankie Rose (formerly of the ever-morphing Dum Dum Girls), so it’s no surprise that their debut LP lands somewhere between Avan Lava’s ecstatic pop jams and Dum Dum Girls’ breezy, well-brushed garage rock. But Citron wrote every track on Careers, so it’s something of an exercise in her own stylistic strengths and personal nuances, rather than just another offshoot of perpetually offshooting bands.
At 10-tracks long, the album is a brief one, but that means less room for error and more time to focus on Careers‘ best tracks. Madora kicks things off, but its woozy, filtered, future doo-wop is slightly misleading. Madora is exactly what I expected to hear when I started listening—barely there angst, delicately layered harmonies and moments of hot, sunny pop. But Beverly’s sepia-toned swoon twitches and twists and shudders when you don’t expect it to. Honey Do is serene and sincere, but its ascending harmonies bring to mind ominous church choirs. You Can’t Get It Right blends the eerie plastic-ness of ’50s cosmetic commercials with a Godzilla-at-the-beach sense of surfy chaos. Yale’s Life is a cinematic, soft-focus, high school prom slow dance with a glimmer of a knife’s edge in the corner of the screen.
Although most of Careers chugs along with a sandy roadside candor, some tracks, like the churning, heavy Planet Birthday or the clinically pulsing Hong Kong Hotel, play with disparate textures: Citron’s raw, unwieldy guitar and Rose’s mathematical, menacing drumming against those gauzily sweet vocal harmonies. The tension that arrives from this unpredictability is what keeps Careers from becoming just another harmony-heavy fuzz fest of fake smiles and self-doubt.
If you haven’t been convinced of its gorgeous eccentricities, Careers‘ final track, Black And Grey, should do it. The percussion is mostly absent; instead, Citron sings with soft clarity over looped guitars with a crushing isolation borrowed from the likes of Leonard Cohen. It’s another side of Citron’s many sides on Careers, and a good indication that Beverly’s creative flow isn’t anywhere close to running dry.