Los Angeles indie/pop duo Beginners are everything but starting out; Samantha Barbera plays with a band called Holy Fever, whilst Nick Ruth comes from a background of music production. The pair were also roommates for a few years, so much inspiration can be drawn from songwriters who spend a great amount of time with each other as they would have witness each other’s highs and lows. The duo have even supported Foster The People during their tour, which would look great on their CV. Let’s get down to business and review their new release Beginners, a 20 minute EP that will give us a taste of what to expect from the pair.
First track Ever Love is also the leading single from Beginners, an indie power pop anthem that touches base on the common frustrations of unreciprocated love and lust that questions “did you ever love this way?”. Definitely a track that you can get lost in and relate back to your own current or previous love situation, whether it was meant to be or not etc. In contrast, Let Go or Get Dragged is darker sounding with more provocative lyrics seemingly referring to somebody’s partner having an affair without their knowledge; the song captures the drama perfectly with heavy drum beats and high pitch riff.
In a recent interview with the pair, Nick mentioned that he wanted the production to sound cool but didn’t want to lose focus on Samantha’s vocals; this is perfectly demonstrated in Who Knows, the track is certainly still upbeat but somewhat downbeat compared to the beginning of the EP. It’s great to hear a pop song that doesn’t have so much going on that you don’t know where to channel your attention. So Close I Almost Believed It is driven by powerful drums and vocal, with an intense chorus that makes you want to sing along, “I will love you, I don’t deserve to”. Finally, the EP closes with If It’s Not Enough, the slowest and most airy track on Beginners; a great way to end such a power driven release and we hear an emotion in Samantha’s voice that differentiates it from previous tracks.
Beginners is an enlightening debut release from the duo. The indie component in the selection tackles every day problems we all experience one way or another in life, whilst the pop component renders each track capable of delivering the emotion with great production skills by Nick to accompany the strong vocals contributed by Samantha. Beginners were meant to write together, their EP Beginners is rightfully self titled and is a great way to have brought their project into the world.