What would Daria Morgendorfer listen to if she ever found herself in a good mood? These days it would probably be Beverly, the “moon baby” of Drew Citron and Frankie Rose, who just released their debut album, Careers. These two ladies have made quite the careers (see how I put the album title in there?) in indie music: Frankie has been in the Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and has gone solo; Drew is from Avan Lava and has been the live keyboardist for Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Frankie’s solo tour. Together they created an album that draws from all sorts of ‘90s sources to make a post-punk, shoe gaze, dreamy alt-rock record that doesn’t rip off or rehash stuff from the days of old. Careers reminds you of being a teenager in the summer in the ‘90s with nothing to do – something Daria knows a thing or two about. The video for “Honey Do,” the first single, even features real teenagers hanging around with nothing in particular to do. The song is so sweet that even an old curmudgeon like me can’t hate on those relaxed teens and their cigarettes and their Sharpie tattoos; it creates this nostalgia factor that puts you in the perfect mood for looking at kids chill in a parking lot. The video is basically the organic version of the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979.” It all feels legitimate and not forced, the music may adhere to older genres but not because Beverly is copying it, just because they got to the post-punk/shoegaze/alt-rock party a little later than everyone else.
Drew and Frankie’s vocals work perfectly to create beautiful harmonies that stay sweet even when the songs get distorted. Having two female vocalists instantly brings up comparisons to the Breeders and there are so many similarities between the bands, there are so many points where it could have been Kim Deal singing on this album. Those clear, clean voices come together beautifully to showcase harmonies on “Out on a Ride.” Like much of shoe gaze, the lyrics aren’t the easiest to make out, but it doesn’t even matter because they sound so pretty.
There’s no question that these ladies know how to craft a song. Even with no lyrics, “Ambulatory” creates a frenzied feeling. “You Can’t Get It Right” has a little hint of surf influence in the guitar; it’s catchy like a pop song but has the attitude of alt-rock. “Honey Do” stays sugary-sweet even with powerful guitar; equally sweet is “All the Things.” “Planet Birthday” has distorted guitar, a distorted sample of people talking, pounding drums, and yet the vocals keep in non-threatening. “Yale’s Life” has booming percussion, soft synth, and far-off dreamy vocals. Synth is used in moderation, it doesn’t overpower any of the tracks which instead let guitar reign supreme and those gorgeous vocals follow. There are no weak songs on the album, they all hold their own. The whole album clocks in at about half an hour, so there’s no time for any of the 10 songs to overstay their welcome.
For now, Frankie has gone back to working on her solo career so Drew is building a touring band for Beverly. Hopefully this duo continues to collaborate as they have made a gorgeous album, perfect for summer no matter what age you are nor in which decade you happen to be. Maybe if Daria is in a happier place these days and wasn’t a fictional character, she’d happily listen to Careers. It sounds just alternative enough, just ‘90s enough, just summery enough, and just new enough that it could definitely work for being her summer soundtrack.