The Beths may have been founded by jazz majors at the University of Auckland, but they quickly built their reputation in the clubs of Australia and their native New Zealand for an impulsive, infectious indie rock. Inspired, at least in large part, by the punk-pop of their childhood, they rely on energized guitar riffs, melodic hooks, and multi-part vocal harmonies. It's a formula presented in spades on their full-length debut Future Me Hates Me, beginning with the outright banger "Great No One." The song opens at a brisk tempo with a hummable vocal line and a distorted guitar striking in rhythm with clean jabs. It adds lead guitar and backing vocals before landing on its euphoric chorus. As the album title Future Me Hates Me forewarns, this is all tempered by lyrics that include words like "trying," "in between," and "apathy," and lead singer Elizabeth Stokes' ruminative vocal quality, which delivers rousing melodies while keeping emotions in check. Song titles like "Little Death" and "You Wouldn’t Like Me" ("…If you saw what was inside me") underscore the discontent. As far as range, the Beths come closest to an unhyphenated punk rock on "Uptown Girl" and are most restrained on the closer "Less Than Thou." Still, they never dim the stage lights or suggest a drink refill or restroom break. Instead, the album plays like a greatest-hits collection, and since it doesn't seem to cater to a musical or emotional middle ground, it makes for a guilt-free pleasure.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson