Maryland’s dream-pop duo, Beach House, have been critically acclaimed darlings since their self-titled debut dropped in 2006. The two albums that followed, Devotion (2008) and Teen Dream (2010) were accepted equally as well by fans and critics alike. Their latest release, Bloom is the band’s most beautiful work to date, masterful both vocally and musically.
The dream-pop duo invite you into their wonderland as “Myth” begins. Victoria Legrand’s vocals overcome the listen as she rasps stronger than ever. Alexander Scally’s accompaniments mystify while creating sharper contrast and structure.
Bloom couldn’t be a more fitting title for this record as each track flows into the next. To dissect each track would take from the sheer lushness that these two individuals create. “Lazuli” and “Wishes” are near-masterpieces, with vocals that cascade along with guitars, which are crafted against a simple drum beat. The overall tranquility of each track extends itself to the feeling of spinning or falling, but in the most beautiful way.
And while Beach House has produced bold tracks in which the listener can lose his or herself, each track, spanning over four minutes, is never boring. “Troublemaker” is the album’s standout, with Legrand’s ethereal contralto making the track jump out at you. There’s a slight Zombies-feel here, as well as on “Wild” -which exemplifies the band established creativity and awareness of influence vs. homage.
The wonderfully epic instrumentation comes to a climax on the sweeping, “On the Sea” and the album’s closer, “Irene.” The shining, screeching guitar compliments Legrand’s finesse with phrasing and narratives. Compared to iconic acts such as the Smiths or the Cure, Beach House’s strong air of mystery shines next to Legrand’s straight-forward narratives. “Other People” features Legrand pining for a gone-too-soon lover, but while it could come off as desperation, she phrases each sentence with conviction. And while lyrical poetry can come off as contrived, Legrand and Scally are believable and inspired.
The direction Beach House is heading is new territory for a band of this generation. Bloom is familiar, yet it leaves you wanting more. Retrospectively, this is the type of record Chris Martin wanted Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto to be, but came up short. While I don’t believe this band has fully “bloomed” (pardon my pun), I’ll be waiting impatiently for the impending tour and future releases.
*Find Jessi Roti directly on Twitter @thejessilala and be sure to follow @ScreenInvasion!