Review

Beach House

Bloom

Bella Union • 2012

It’s been two years since Beach House, the dream-pop-dream-team consisting of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand, released their third album Teen Dream. The album led them to signing with big-deal indie label Sup Pop and gaining a large international fan base. With their new release Bloom questions like “How will they react to such success and how could they possibly improve?” pop up. Turns out, Beach House didn’t succumb to some sort of musical mid-life crisis, frantically trying to find a whole new sound but opted to stick to their guns instead. The dreamy, dispersed atmosphere remains as does Legrand’s sultry voice, Scully’s hypnotic guitar and flashy synthesizers. But with Bloom the two definitely have bloomed into more engaging storytellers. Myth, the album’s opener, is an untypical dreary start to an album with Scully’s guitar lazily, almost depressingly, quivering repeatedly across the track and Legrand asking “What comes after this momentary bliss?”- a question conjuring the bittersweet, fairytale-gone-grotesque mood, which is to remain until the end. With lyrics like “Tiny fingers on the edges/Watch it unravel pulling everything apart” and “The walls are shaking in their skin” on the hypnotic track Troublemaker, the theme of frailty is creepily established. Another stand-out song has got to be Wild: off to a brooding start due to the breathless synthesizer, topped off with uplifting instruments with the lyrics only to pull you right back down: “My mother said to me that I would get in trouble/Our father won’t come home, cause he is seeing double.” The album booms with tantalizing intimacy, allowing the listener to peek through the key-hole of a memory-filled room but never inviting them in. A brand new sound isn’t what is on offer here but rather a testament to Beach House’s slightly eery, time-stopping storytelling skills.