Beach House : Bloom : Review

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.

Myth:

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.

Wild:

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.

Lazuli:

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.

Other People:

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.

The Hours:

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.

Troublemaker:

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.

New Year:

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.

Wishes:

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. 

Irene:

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.

Castro

Walk The Moon at The Ogden Theatre 2/18: Review

Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio the indie outfit known as Walk The Moon hit The Ogden stage on Saturday night to a audience of screaming fans.  It was my first time seeing them live, and was pretty impressed by the interaction between the band and audience, I guess it is tradition for the band to come out before their set and paint the audiences faces with a array of face paint representing warpaint.  It is rare to see this interaction between artist and band nowadays, as most bands tend to stick to the old hang out in the green room until we are ready to play routine.  As soon as the lights dimmed, and the screams rang out it was all business for the boys of Walk The Moon, hitting us with a energized set; it wasn’t long before the whole venue was dancing up a storm.  Digging into their bag of songs it was a rendition of Fleet Foxes's “White Winter Hymnal”, that truly showcased the bands ability to adapt from their normal style.  Translating their passion for music in the sense of crafty and skillful songwriting Walk The Moon comes off without a hitch. They will be back in Denver headlining at The Hi-Dive on March 28th on their way back home from their current tour, a show you will not want to miss.

Young the Giant at The Ogden Theatre: Review

The packed house in The Ogden Theater on Saturday was buzzing with electricity, waiting patiently for Young the Giant to take stage. Headlining for the third time in Denver in just over six months, it was clear that the mile high music scene is far from feeling tired of this young, budding indie group from Los Angeles. 

Opening the set with the song “I Got”, the group’s melodic and airy feel began to flow through the hall. That night, lead vocalist Samir was using two different microphones on stage. One, a standard vocal SM58 microphone and the other was a Super 55 Deluxe; an old, radio presenter microphone which gave his voice that aged, long, and somewhat echoic tone that has become a staple of the band’s unique sound. An interesting addition to the group’s stage set, their choice to take this microphone with them on the road really showcases the band’s dedication to keeping their live performance close to their recorded sound. Continuing through their set the band played mainly songs like “12 Fingers”, “Strings”, “God Made Man”, and “Garands” off their self-titled Young The Giant, the band’s music set that evening was coupled with an incredible light show that held my attention beginning to end. Although much of the audience seemed to passively enjoy most of the set, songs like “Cough Syrup”, and even “Camera”, which Samir played on piano, were familiar enough to draw the crowd’s attention back to the stage. Closing out the night with an encore of their newest single “Apartment” and obviously “My Body”, the crowd left with a full dose of Young the Giant. 

This was the band’s first time playing a venue in Denver this large. Taking the stage at the Westword Music Showcase over the summer, and then selling out The Bluebird in October, the group’s jump from a 600 capacity room to a 1,600 capacity room was huge. The band’s growing popularity is largely from the amount of radio play stations like 93.3 KTCL and 97.3 KBCO. Although this show sold out the venue months in advance, it seemed a majority of the audience were dismissive of anything aside from the radio singles. A group like Young the Giant, who’s music is already so ambient and easy listening, is a bit harder to thoroughly enjoy in a room as large as The Ogden because it takes more “umpf” to fill the whole space. Even though I loved to finally have the opportunity to hear Young the Giant live, I would have enjoyed the set more in a smaller, more intimate setting like The Bluebird. I’m excited for their continued success and growth into the mainstream, but I secretly hope that the next time they return to the state, it’ll be back in a smaller venue. 

Maddie

 

     

Reviving Cecilia: Thin Air EP: Review

 

What do you get when you mix one part Regina Spektor, one part Feist, and a splash of St. Vincent? You get the sweet joyful sound of Reviving Cecilia.  I have had the opportunity on several occasions to see this lovely group, and am quite impressed with the growth they have shown in the last couple months.  I had a chance to check out their recently released EP Thin Air.

The whole EP is nothing short of brilliant with carefully composed layers complimented by the dual vocals of Connie Hong and Ali Goosens.  On the opening track, “Come Elijah”, we hear Goosens and Hong give us a sample of the angelic harmonies that carries the song from beginning to end, with sudden transition shifts the vocals stand out the most.  It is as if you can feel the passion behind their voices as you listen to this track.

On “Death of A Man”, the track starts off with an infectious drum roll that sets the tone for the rest of the song.  It is when the chromatic scales of the xylophone kick in that the song truly hits its pinnacle, with a perfectly orchestrated percussion section this song is truly something I could hear getting major airplay on the radio.

Other notable tracks are “Houses”, which is probably the most upbeat song on the EP.  It is also the catchiest of the songs, as the repeating chorus of I love you makes you want to sing in unison along to the song.

The song “September” conjures up comparisons to that of Badly Drawn Boy, and the mainstream pop sound that goes along with it.  The melodies on this blend together without a hitch and create a unique sound that makes you feel like you are starring at the stars and making a wish that will come true.

My favorite track “ 2 Kinds” starts off with a haunting piano riff, which then explodes into a song that truly demonstrates the perfectly pitched harmonies and orchestrated backing of guitar and percussion that will only carry Reviving Cecilia to the top.  Truly a hidden gem in the Mile High City, it won’t be long until they become a household name amongst the Denver music scene.  The CD was mixed and mastered by the talented crew over at House In Motion Recording Studio .

-Castro

 

Be sure to catch Reviving Cecilia along with Eldren and Talkdemonic this Saturday February 18th at Moe's BBQ, those in attendance will receive a copy of the EP.