i think the criteria for apnet album reviews is a little too strict (edit: closely tied) to what pertains to musicianship / musical ability. are you even thinking about the songs and the feelings the bands are creating outside of the admittedly simple riffs and chords they play?
or... the actual relationships between the production and the band's sound, not just each on it's own? sure beach fossils isn't doing much creatively for their instruments, but they succeed wildly (at least on the EP's first couple songs) at creating a new direction for themselves that blends their past sound with a more 80s pop influence, still it might not be a breakthrough for the 'genre' or whatever, but name another band with that distinct guitar tone.
i think it's silly to think that they aren't being creative, they're doing so in a different way than you are used to judging all your other scene bands in your reviews.
I love texture. I love a good song. I love great riffs and melodies and counter-melodies that get stuck in my head for days. Beach Fossils delivers all of this in truckloads. Yes, on both records you could say the songs are "samey" but they hang together very well on vinyl and conceptually. Beach Fossils create vibe - which is really important. On the first record it is sort of a primitive jangly 60's garage vibe and this one's more 80's sounding. Don't confuse simplicity and a lack of pretense with shallowness. The recordings are not boring, they are actually very deep and lovely. I find them earnest and sincere and very moving. Even though it's pop, both albums bear repeated listenings and will still be heard 30 years from now. I love the new direction, they are proving to have quite a deep well of musicality. The recordings are sublimated and relaxed, yet focused; but their live performances often have frenzied and passionate energy.
So, I couldn't disagree more with Blake Solomon's review. The review itself seemed somewhat "worhless" and void of meaning. Critics often say something even when they have nothing real to say. But, music is very subjective and not everything is obvious. I had to listen several times for this music to really draw me in. I liked it, now I love it.