Beach House: Once Twice Melody (Sub Pop) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, April 12th, 2024  

Beach House

Once Twice Melody

Sub Pop

Feb 16, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue Bookmark and Share

In the middle of the 19th century, French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr coined the term “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” or, for you Anglophiles out there, “the more things change, the more things remain the same.” Quite how this fairly unremarkable Parisian saw Beach House coming is something that it seems we’ll never understand. But, when it comes to explaining the trajectory of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s journey until this point, there simply isn’t a more accurate phrase to use.

The entirety of Beach House’s back catalogue exists as a set of slightly different immaculately conceived sculptures, each carved from the same stone, using the same tools, by the same people. The ingredients that go into making each of their records have remained fairly consistent throughout their career. In terms of creating a uniquely identifiable soundscape, the pair have become the modern masters.

What they have continued to get better at throughout their many records, though, is their ability to introduce noticeable changes without ever disrupting their sonic identity. On 2018’s 7, tracks like “Lemon Glow” represented, in Beach House terms, at least, grand departures from what they had produced until that point, with its textural identity firmly rejecting the space-age wonderment that defines a lot of their output.

And on their new album Once Twice Melody, the duo have pulled off this feat with even more fervor. The acoustic—yes, you heard that right, ACOUSTIC—stylings of centerpiece “Sunset,” on paper, feel like something very much outside of the band’s wheelhouse. Yet, falling in the middle of this double album—the first that the pair have released—it couldn’t feel more natural. With great additions to the Beach House catalogue featuring either side of its emergence—“Superstar,” “ESP,” and “Over and Over” in the run up, “Only You Know,” “Masquerade,” and “Modern Love Stories” in the latter half—it gives the record a purpose, welcoming into a new decade one of the 21st century’s most complete musical acts.

It still doesn’t feel like a record that’ll lift the blinkers from Beach House deniers, but expecting that to arrive at this point would be naïve. In actuality, this record, for the most part, feels like Beach House at their most extreme and experimental, something that an album of this length undoubtedly needs. It contrasts warm compositions with cool vocals well throughout, and gives fans a near 90-minute exhibition in the cathartic power of dream pop and shoegaze.

Eight studio albums into their career, it is difficult to imagine how Once Twice Melody could’ve landed any better than it does. Constantly interesting, even exciting in many places, it reaffirms the long-held consensus that these two musicians have stardust in their fingertips. Their ability to embody their sound and still find new avenues for it to travel down remains unparalleled. And whilst it may not be instantly identified as their best record, the longer you sit with it, the more deserving of that title it becomes. (

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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