New Zealand four-piece the Beths released their sophomore project with an intentionally enigmatic title: Jump Rope Gazers. Singer Elizabeth Stokes told NME that when “you’re focusing so much on the songs, making them all the best you can, [the album title] doesn’t even cross your mind.”
The group was used to touring a three-venue circuit in New Zealand until their catchy indie debut caught fire. In the two years since their successful debut, Future Me Hates Me, was released, the Beths have played globally with bands like Pixies, Weezer and Death Cab for Cutie.
Fans can expect the same punchy guitar band on Jump Rope Gazers, but the Beths have certainly matured. The release shows off Stokes’ Kiwi accent, addresses anxieties, and slows things down on a few tracks. However, the album certainly does not start out with a slow tempo.
“I’m Not Getting Excited” is a sharp and driving tune that despite its upbeat nature, is all about the imposter syndrome they felt after their initial success. Stokes spoke about the uncertainty of the future and channeled that into working hard on a stop motion music video in the beginning of quarantine.
The energy continues on “Dying to Believe,” the first single released from the project. Sounds of the AT Metro train can be heard in the background of this upbeat dance-jam. “Dying to Believe” is a whirlwind of non-stop movement — something any late commuter would die for — until we disembark onto the album’s title track. “Jump Rope Gazers” slows things down and allows Stokes’ accent and falsetto to shine through for the rest of the album.
Whether it be waiting to see if feelings are reciprocated or struggling to find clarity, Stokes opens up about anxiety in a way we hadn’t seen from the Beths before. By turning the self-doubt into sugary choruses, Stokes takes ownership of her struggles and puts out a confident sophomore album.
Miranda Roberts is a recent graduate from the University of Kansas with a passion for writing, music obsession, and a serious crossword puzzle addiction.