Beach House

Thank Your Lucky Stars

Sub Pop

Oct 19, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


When Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House announced the existence of a new album less than two months after the release of this year's excellent Depression Cherry, it was a surprise to many of their fans. The band declared that the album was "not a companion to Depression Cherry or a surprise or B-sides," claiming that they were merely experimenting with release schedules. Yet it is somewhat of a surprise that Thank Your Lucky Stars even exists, considering the consistency with which Beach House has directed its business thus far in its career. 2015 has been a game-changer of a year for the duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, starting with the atypical sound of Depression Cherry and continuing with Thank Your Lucky Stars, which actually ends up sounding like the more fundamental Beach House record.

Despite the band's insistence that they're not companion records, it's inevitable that the two be compared. It doesn't help that they each have nine tracks and a monochromatic cover. Nonetheless, they have enough aesthetic differences to put to rest any accusations of "sameness" that might come their way. Whereas Depression Cherry was filled with sound, dripping with synthy texture and surrounding the listener with guitar leads, Thank Your Lucky Stars is more open and spacious. There's more variation in tempo and instrumentation among the tracks, yet it all flows naturally. Of course, all the traditional Beach House elements are here: it should hopefully go without saying at some point that there is no drastic revolution in sound. There are long organ chords and metronomic drum machine clicks. Legrand's voice, rich and languorous and beautiful as ever (especially on closer "Somewhere Tonight"), floats dreamily about every space.

As with every Beach House album, listen enough times and new details begin to emerge. Some songs go in interesting structural directions: "All Your Yeahs" almost has a bit of a blues-guitar stomp to it; "Elegy to the Void" takes cues from both prog and EDM for its slow build and release. It's remarkable, actually, how well the band has disarmed its audience into hearing Thank Your Lucky Stars as "just another Beach House album" while exploring so many interesting directions, just like Depression Cherry. Companion album or not, it does nothing but further cement Beach House's legacy of consistent beauty and quality. (www.beachhousebaltimore.com)

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