Cold Beaches amp up their gloomy but beachy indie pop on DrifterSalem Collo-Julinon August 3, 2020 at 1:00 pm

Cold Beaches are one of the most aptly named bands I’ve discovered this year: their new album, Drifter, evokes a decidedly beachy but sometimes gloomy world that makes me think of walking along an east-coast oceanfront in the fall. The band started as the solo project of Chicago singer-songwriter and guitarist Sophia Nadia, who grew up in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. After spending a few years in Richmond, Virginia, where she wrote and self-released Cold Beaches’ 2016 debut, Aching, she moved here in 2017. By the time Cold Beaches recorded their 2018 album, Stay Here, Nadia had put together a band–the personnel involved have shifted over the years, but multi-instrumentalist Eric Novak and guitarist Charlie Atchley have been aboard for every release since. Together they’ve evolved Cold Beaches’ early lo-fi bedroom melodies into the surf-rock-infused indie pop that remains their core on Drifter. In fact, Atchley and Nadia’s garage riffs on songs such as “Band Boy (Redux)” signal a turn to a louder, more emphatic guitar-based sound–though Nadia’s voice has remained a constant throughout. Her sweet, sometimes breathy tone works well with the jangle pop on “Problems and Heartache (I Got Them),” but she can also really belt out the notes–and she proves it on the chorus of “Somebody.” With Drifter, Cold Beaches continue to challenge themselves to ride the perfect wave. v

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