Editors’ Notes While they were recording Jump Rose Gazers, The Beths were thinking about all their friends that had left their hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, to chase their dreams. “When you reach a certain age, all the friends that you have grown up with will scatter and you're all trying to keep in touch and trying to maintain that relationship using technology and stuff like that,” The Beths lead vocalist/guitarist Elizabeth Stokes tells Apple Music. Throughout their second LP, the four-piece comes to terms with the uneasy feeling of leaving everything and everyone they know behind—especially when they go on tour. "Our experience is totally when we've been traveling, and how that completely overshadows our relationships with everybody,“ says guitarist Jonathan Pearce. “In a couple of years, we've toured the States four or five times and the same number in the UK and Europe. I think we have always prided ourselves on being a pretty hard-working touring band.” Recorded within six months, Jump Rose Gazers is a testament to their work ethic—ten fizzing power-pop songs where the band gains a new perspective on the people who come and go in their lives. “We really value that personal connection with the people who come to the gigs,” says Pearce. “We try to reward that relationship and that connection with playing a really good show, just giving it our all.” Read on for Stokes' and Pearce's track-by-track guide.

I’m Not Getting Excited
Elizabeth Stokes: “It’s a response to my sense of impostor syndrome. Just in my head, I think I find it hard to enjoy things that are going well because I'm scared in my mind that everything's going to go wrong in between now and the good thing happening. And so when we quite often get asked, 'Are you excited about X coming up?' you have to say yes because you know that you should be excited objectively. But in my head, I'm like, 'Don't jinx it.' If you say that you're excited, then it will then not have been. It doesn't make sense. I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be, but it's just playing within the headspace and trying to make fun of it because it is so silly.”
Jonathan Pearce: “That's very relatable to us, because the Kiwi way is more reserved and understated. We're not infectiously excited. We're cautiously optimistic.”

Dying to Believe
ES: “I remember having the melody for this one quite early on, maybe two or three years ago, just the melody for the chorus. But it's taken a really long time to find words that match a particular meaning and also fit the very particular cadence of the way that the melody ends by going down.”
JP: “Which is so hard to do. No songs do that. You don't end choruses on a descending melody. We talk about form all the time, and this is like maybe A/C, which is hard to do right. It's amazing that that song works, because that feature of chord writing is extremely rare and rarely successful.”

Jump Rope Gazers
JP: “I think the song wanted to be in there pretty firmly in that dreamy dream pop. It's like this little subset of rock music in New Zealand in maybe the late '70s and '80s, which is really influenced by, say, the Pretenders or maybe a little bit of Blondie, where it's very tightly arranged. And we tried to inject the song with a little bit of that as a contrast to the dream pop as well.”

ES: “It was a troublesome one to record. We recorded it first in order in terms of when we started tracking, and then I ended up completely rewriting the chorus to what it is now. And then it became the last song that we tracked because we had to retrack it. At first, the song was a bit more resentful. And I think that I didn't really like that and I wanted it to be more just loosely longing, but in a fun way.”
JP: “We struck it at first because it's the one we played most live prior to making the record; most of these songs hadn't been played live at all. So this one felt like one that we could get under our belt easily and quickly before moving on to some more challenging things. But it just didn't turn out that way, because the original chorus, when recorded and listened back to, it broke up that rhythmic flow too much. It had all these stops and starts, and we just collectively decided that that wasn't the right way forward for that song and it was becoming a bit unapproachable.”

Do You Want Me Now
JP: “We were a bit nervous putting it together because it was something we hadn't really done before as a band. It's a bit different to 'Jump Rope Gazers.' 'Jump Rope Gazers' is in a medium tempo as well, but it felt really obvious as to where it wanted to go. This one, we had to find the dynamic level for it. We played around and found that you could play the chorus really loudly, and it works, but that wasn't the right mood. So we ended up dialing that back and we've come up with the song that just never quite blows its top.”
ES: “We've got songs that build to a point, and then we explode them and come back down. And that feels good and right. And to write a song and arrange it in a way that was simmering the whole time and resisting the urge to push it into an explosive place was quite fun. It's not something that we normally do, so it was nice to experiment with it.”

Out of Sight
ES: “We got to stretch out a little bit on this one in the middle, which is something we don't normally do. Normally, we try to be restrained rather than jamming, I suppose. We're not usually a jamming band. But we let the middle section of this one go to where it felt right.”

Don’t Go Away
ES: “This one is very silly, which is fine. I feel like this album, on the whole, feels maybe a bit more serious—and something like ‘Don't Go Away' is just a silly tantrum. It's me pretending to be the little child that's inside of me that's like, 'I'm mad because my friends are moving away and abandoning me.' Because obviously I want them to go, because it's for the best.”
JP: “Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. You don't want them to go and you have the best reasons for them not going.”

Mars, the God of War
ES: “I think we were in between tours and staying at a friend's house in Spain because it was too expensive to go home from Europe and then back in between tours. So we stayed in this hotel that was so cheap to stay in. I think it was 4:00 in the morning or something, and I just remember that Mars was really bright for some reason. It was a period of time where it was really bright and really red in the sky. I was having to write to somebody that I was really upset with. Just the imagery; it's a moment that stuck with me and I turned into the song later on.”

You Are a Beam of Light
JP: “We probably listen to more music that's on this end of the spectrum than we do music that's on the 'I'm Not Getting Excited' end of the spectrum. I mean, we make the music we want to make, but it is really fun for us to do something a bit more like this. We were thinking about what artists like Phoebe Bridgers would do in terms of recording and giving it some texture that wasn't simply a straight-up acoustic song. There's a lot of different influences, but it came out basically how it was with very little frills.”
ES: “I remember writing it in an afternoon for a friend who was really far away and having a rough time—and especially, that I couldn't be there.”

Just Shy of Sure
JP: “The band pitched hard for this to be the last song on the record; it feels right.”
ES: “Putting a song at the very end is like hiding it, but I feel like it's a nice road for getting to the end of the album. To us, it ended up feeling really good as a song. It feels optimistic and it feels pretty. It feels nice. And I like the way it sounds and I like the way it feels cautiously optimistic in the way that I guess we are.”


Music Videos

More by The Beths

Featured On