One of the Summer's most anticipated albums landed in my laps a few days ago, and I finally got a chance to go through it today. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland the duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally make up the dream-pop-indie outfit known as Beach House. I have had a chance to see them twice, once in Austin during SXSW and also here in Denver in 2010. Here is a track by track review of their fourth studio album Bloom released on the Sub Pop Label.
The song opens with a haunting intro accompanied by a slow bass drum that sets the tone for the song. On this track Legrand's voice carries over with an warm felt exuberance that makes it one of the stand out tracks on the album. The song is carefully structured that it almost sounds perfect from beginning to end.
A more upbeat track emphasizing heavily on synths and drum layers, this track is a more dance friendly track that crosses the boundaries of the shoegaze genre for just a minute having the listener move their feet and shoulders to its minimal dance grove.
This is the first single that has been heard on the radio for a bit now. Starting off again with a synth/piano intro, its the powerful opening sets the mood for the rest of the song with Legrand's voice again overtaking the song and leading us to a place that we are accustomed to. It is probably the perfect song to release as a lead single, giving way to that Beach House we have grown to love.
Again relying on synths and drum intro "Other People" gives us a song that may sound cliché, yet manages to pull the listener in and capture us with its take on a popular beat structure. This is probaly the track that fills that comfort zone for the band, but i am not complaining.
This one starts off by Legrand singing over a piano beat(as you can tell by now piano/synths play heavily in this album), it is Scally's guitar play that give this song the overall structure and harmonious feel that makes it good, not great. I think this was probably one of the weaker tracks on the album.
This song probably has the best chorus on the album, giving us that catchy hook we can all sing word for word by the end of the day. This is also probably one of Legrand's best efforts on the album, as you can truly feel the passion she puts into it. A great standout track to say the least, it is probably the track that feeds each member off each other to give us perfection.
First thing I noticed about this song is that the instruments slightly overpower the vocals at the beginning yet drown out towards the middle of the song. I wasn't really feeling this song but it did take me back to Teen Dream for a second, and while the comparisons to both albums are similiar, I was expecting more from this song.
A catchy drum loop filled with a dream like sequence make this song a gem that seems to gain momentum as it plays out. Much like a story, the chapters of the songs keep you entertained and provide a backdrop for an underrated song.
On The Sea:
A dream like song to say the least, this particular song paints a beautiful picture with crafty lyrics that mean purpose and put the listener in a place where the waves are crashing and the sun is shining brightly.
Flanked by a distorted tone and eerie synths the begining of this give us Legrand's best inner Stevie Nicks moment as the similiarities are pretty scary. The song gives us layers upon layers of a classic feeling associated with songs of the late 80's. The long instrumental in the middle of the song has us guessing to what is to come, and when it hits; is pretty magical.
If i had to rate this album on a scale of 1-10, I would have to give it an 8, only because it mimics alot of similiarities to Teen Dream, lacking that subtle hint of originality. I enjoyed it the album and will probably have it on repeat for a long time, I suggest you do the same.
Fun fact of the day, this album was recorded as Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas where my grandfather was born. It has become a popular studio for musicians to go and record.