Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
Few bands make angst sound as joyous as the Beths do on their debut LP. As its title suggests, the album is full of songs of both regret and self-doubt, but the group deliver them with some of the strongest power-pop this side of Weezer’s Blue Album. The New Zealand quartet—who studied jazz together in Auckland—have a penchant for writing massive choruses that crash like tidal waves, and their songs are as tightly-wrought as they are relentless. On the belligerent breakup track “Uptown Girl,” frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes calls down the wrath of the gods (and a glass of poisoned wine) on a crummy ex as her band yank her from one full-octane hook to another, emphasizing her own frenzied urge to “drink the whole town dry.” Later, in “You Wouldn’t Like Me,” a sunny doo-wop arrangement and crisp backup vocals serve as a foil for Stokes’s harshest self-indictment: “You wouldn’t like me if you saw what was inside me.”
But Future Me Hates Me isn’t all doom and gloom. Stokes knows that falling in love is a gamble, and on the album’s title track in particular, she acknowledges that it’s better to have loved and lost than to be, as she deftly puts it, “happy unhappy.” The Beths know how to dig up both the wounds and the sugar-rush that accompany new romance; on their debut they do so with exceptional gusto.