Beach House

7

Sub Pop

May 11, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Baltimore's Beach House is universally beloved in the way that their mention will often elicit the kind of warm smile that you see on the face of someone deeply touched by a gesture. In that vein, their albums are artful parcels delicately wrapped with tender love and care. When you untie the bows, a lavender potion of harmonious synth and guitar wafts forth, pumped outward by the atomizer of electronic rhythm.

The six albums preceding this one provide many a go-to when you're quite content to feel dreamy. Over a circuitous 12-year float, songstress and caster of keys Victoria Legrand and her spirit animal in mood, guitarist Alex Scally have gradually made a kushy corner for themselves apart from the rest. They've now reached the sort of rarified status of a group whose comparisons branch out in both directions, covering their own influences and those they've influenced in kind.    

7 marks the number in a sequence of Beach House albums as well as a point of departure from past conventions and most importantly, concerns. It's common to speculate about causal ties to an evolution in sound and substance but in the case of 7 the factors are pronounced, practically spelled out by the band in a transparent love letter to the listener. In it they share that unlike past records, 7 was conceived without respect to how it would translate live. It was also spun together at leisure in a home studio with deference to creative impulse and unencumbered by time constraint.

Each song on this magnificent album is thus a different chocolate in the box. Legrand's aquatic vocal tone is the balance, its cool resonance blending into the music as if it were itself an instrument. Opener "Dark Spring" sweeps you up in its space-prog momentum before giving way to the continuous lava-like bass purr of "Pay No Mind," the first of a couple of nods to The Cure that tickle you pink. In a few spots, Scally channels Porl "Pearl" Thompson's tone. Then you pause to wonder if anything has ever brought back that warm wash-over from John Hughes cinema more than "Woo." Images bloom of Sam and Jake kissing over the table at the end of Sixteen Candles to "If You Were Here" by Thompson Twins during this one and don't be surprised if it's eventually considered one of this generation's shining songs.

There are other welcome allusions. Voices of My Bloody Valentine echo as always while "Dive" saunters forward with the gait of contemporaries Widowspeak before picking up into an amplified Lush-like shoegaze tempo. Finally, "Last Ride" is a long triumphant play, ultimately surfacing over the classic Jesus and Mary Chain meets The Ronettes "Be My Baby" drumline, the 77th and final Beach House song on their 7th and most ambitious album.

You'd have to really be picking nits to mine Beach House productions for things that could have been done better; you may take or leave their style of sedated love pop, but you can't deny that it has always been done beautifully and to vivid effect. It wouldn't, however be unfair to say that the production heights reached on the Dave Sitek-enhanced Teen Dream has since settled in a lower stratosphere. Thanks to co-production from Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember of Spacemen 3, whose neo-psychedelic touch passes like rain showers, Beach House is reaching for the moon once more on the beloved Baltimore duo's most stimulating aural experience to date. (www.beachhousebaltimore.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.