'Sometimes', the opening track to Beach Fossils' self-titled 2010 debut album, opened with the lines "Well I can understand, but I really don't care to know / And you can take my hand but I don't care where we go." Nothing was more evocative of the mindset of indie rock during that time. The half-stoned, disaffectionate, carefree attitude that Beach Fossils perfected on their self-titled debut was just the right tonic for the deadbeat summer that spawned chillwave. Throughout that record, Dustin Payseur twirled sun-soaked jangly guitars around lyrics about indifference, melancholy, and nature. Whatever ailment spawned the lo-fi, beach bum, slacker-rock trend that sprung up during late 2009 was clearly a fleeting condition.

Maybe call it The Scene That Shunned Itself. There was eventually a change in consciousness where it seemed everyone finally figured out they couldn't stand to hear another Brooklyn or L.A. 20-something moan on a limited-run-of-15 cassette about being depressed on the beach. Following their 2009 debut with songs like 'Let's Rock the Beach' and 'Beach Comber' and at least a dozen more mentions of it, Real Estate never mentioned the word on their 2011 follow-up Days. Best Coast went, well, somewhere far away from the beach to compose her entirely soulless second LP The Only Place. Not to mention all the forgotten beach-pop bands who completely disappeared after a couple buzz-able songs on Bandcamp: Weed Diamond, Pill Wonder, Teenage Reverb, etc. So where has Beach Fossils been? Following a promising short EP two years ago, they've done a bit of member swapping, losing guitarist Zachary Cole-Smith to the equally bombastic DIIV, and dropping bassist John Peña to his new project Heavenly Beat. Even with Payseur covering the majority (if not all) of the songwriting duties, it wouldn't be a stretch to say some major changes have happened since we last heard from Beach Fossils.

Clash the Truth opens with the title track, where an slowly intensifying crowd chants a manifesto of sorts over a patented Beach Fossils jangle: "Dream, rebel, trust, youth, free, life, clash, truth. Real, time, gone through, peace, piss, shine, proof." It's the first of many moments on this album where it becomes apparent Payseur is really not fucking around with the scene his music nurtured for nearly a year. 'Generational Synthetic' can be seen either as a call-out of Beach Fossils' entire fanbase and their peers, or an earnest self-reflection about struggling with being an indie rock band in the 21st century.

And for as much rumination over the struggles of the modern rock band, Clash the Truth does a whole lot of looking backwards. 'Sleep Apnea' sounds like Galaxie 500, 'Careless' sounds like Ride, 'Caustic Cross' sounds like Interpol, etc. Apathy can be one of the roughest demons to shake, and often sinking into comfortable territory can feel more assuring than trying something new. Payseur is a strong enough songwriter though that the familiarity doesn't feel like a rip-off; at each turn the album ebbs and flows with immaculate sequencing, and without a song longer than three and a half minutes, nothing overstays its welcome.

That's why Clash the Truth can sometimes be so frustrating to listen to. Evidence of Payseur's songwriting genius is found within the numerous guitar hooks that pepper literally every track on this album. But beyond being a better produced, more cohesive follow-up album, it seems driven on much less relatable themes than its predecessor. And where half of their debut album sang about being so eager to get out of the city it literally hurt, on Clash the Truth Payseur seems to be suffering from some sort of Big Apple Stockholm Syndrome. "We talk about how nice it is that the city won't care who you are" he sings on 'Crashed Out'. You'll eventually find the blasé attitude of Generation Apathetic soothing if you spend enough time submerged in it, but maybe the best thing Beach Fossils could do for their well being is to take their own advice and get the fuck out of Brooklyn.