Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The gushing, melodic songs on SWELL pile up like the wild fantasies Citron concocts hanging out after everyone else is slumped over the bar."
Audio Mixers: Yale Yng-Wong; Beverly .
After recording the first Beverly album with Frankie Rose on board, Drew Citron struck out on her own for the band's follow-up, 2016's The Blue Swell. Not exactly alone, since she had bassist/guitarist Scott Rosenthal along to help out, but the vision is all hers this time. On the album, the duo takes a step away from the pounding noise pop of Careers in favor of something more nuanced and bigger-sounding at the same time. There's still some of the earlier sound buried in the band's DNA, but the guitars are just as likely to be jangly as they are noisy, the tempos are more in the midrange instead of fast and frantic, and Citron's vocals have a dreamier, sweeter quality throughout. While many bands have failed while making this kind of transition from scrappy to sophisticated, Beverly pull it off really well thanks to a few important factors. The production may be more expansive and a little slicker, but it never tips over into blandness. The effects, especially reverb, are used perfectly, the huge sound of the guitars serves the songs well, and the focus on Citron's voice at the center of the mixes puts her exactly where she should be. The songs themselves are very strong too, with Citron dispensing some lyrical nuggets of wisdom while writing lots of very sharp hooks and melodies. "Victoria," a co-write with Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Kip Berman, is a perfect dream pop song that sounds like the Breeders on a sugar high, the rocked-out "You Used to Be a Good Girl" provides a nostalgic jolt of punky energy, "Lake House" is a propulsive bit of post-punk gloom, and "Crooked Cop" has a nice blend of Ride-like dream pop and peppy almost country-rock with a lovely vocal from Citron. There are also a couple tunes ("South Collins" and "The Smokey Pines") that take a detour into hazy ballad territory, the kind of cloudy, soft-as-snow place where one might see Julee Cruise hanging out with Liz Fraser. These provide a nice balance to the rest of the record and show that Beverly have plenty of range. When you put together songs that sound great and have catchy melodies and smart lyrics too, it's hard to go wrong. Add in Citron's pleasant dream of a voice and Beverly really have a lot going in their favor. The Blue Swell is a very strong follow-up to Careers, and definitively positions them as one of the best guitar pop bands around. ~ Tim Sendra