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Album Review

by Beach House

Sub Pop

Review Date
25th June, 2012
Reviewed by
Courtney Sanders

This has been an egregious review to write. Bloom, Beach House’s fourth studio album is undoubtedly excellent; it spills unabashed melancholia into the nether through the meteorological metaphors of Victoria Legrand and swirling guitar of Alex Scally, ebbing and flowing as the pair deem appropriate, totally in-sync after eight years of working together. Legrand and Scally are the first to acknowledge this relationship was fully formed from day one, and their self-titled debut proves it. Similarly, their third studio album and first release on major independent Sub Pop, Teen Dream, pushed their unique dream pop as far as possible, at least in this writer’s opinion at the time. But on Bloom the pair have written an album that not only tops their last effort, but makes critical articulation redundant too: “it’s just the same, but better” doesn’t quite do a near faultless set of tracks - by a Beach House paradigm at least - justice.

“Everything has just deepened: the more experience you have you become better at what you do. We were very exacting and diligent about this album - things we would have let slide in the past we didn’t.” That’s Legrand a couple of months back discussing the new record with UnderTheRadar. And it’s true, compare the production of Bloom to Teen Dream and there are subtle but seismic differences: Legrand’s voice is both more expansive and breathy and her synthesizer wraps Scally’s guitar in a relentless, earthy blanket, creating a foundation for the album, and starting point from which each song then diverts into it’s own familiar yet stand-alone melody.

But what does “more expansive” actually mean? With regards to Bloom it’s an awkward way to describe increased emotional resonance: each track on Bloom unfolds in the way ’10 Mile Stereo’ did, but a bunch of other tracks on Teen Dream did not. Second track ‘The Wild’ is the stand out; an expansive synth-melody replaces a tinny drumbeat and Legrand’s super depressing lyrics until they collide: please stop making alcoholism sound so uplifting guys. ‘Myth’ is similarly antithetical. Legrand angelically sings ‘Help me to make it’ out of what appears to be a caustic relationship, and on other lead single ‘Lazuli’ she describes all manner of being blue (‘Lapis Lazuli’, a phrase Legrand echoes midway through actually describes dying things the deep, metaphorical shade). Beach House’s talent is to turn experience into fantastical journey, and on Bloom they do this in Disney hyper-colour.

And we’re back to where we began. A band doing what they have always done, only better: how inadequate those words still are.


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