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New Music: Beach House

By Jarrett Edmund, September 3 2015 —

Baltimore duo Beach House is best described as bittersweet. Since the dream-pop band put out their self-titled debut in 2006, they’ve released new records every two years that are near-perfect soundtracks for lovelorn summer nights.

With their latest offering, Depression Cherry, following 2012’s excellent but overproduced Bloom, Beach House release an album one year late in pattern but two steps further in progression.

The creative bond between members Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally forms the backbone of Beach House’s melodic soundscapes. In their early work, Beach House were defined by a blend of glistening synths, soaring vocals and sliding Stratocasters. In many ways, Depression Cherry is a return to this signature style.

The album opener, “Levitation,” embodies Beach House’s typical trance-inducing style. Floral imagery and melancholic lyrics float overtop a single note held by a backing organ that grows in intensity until it reaches a sedated climax. ENT_BeachHouseCover_WEB

Accusations of the band writing formulaic songs are quickly redacted on the following track, “Sparks.” A nod to shoegaze music, the track is a dark and gritty cut that represents the biggest sonic departure of the album.

Depression Cherry continually shifts between songs emitting an infectious positivity and tracks filled with a forlorn atmosphere. “Space Song” is blissfully upbeat, while “10:37” is a darker offering that rumbles along like a melancholic Christmas carol.

The emotional centerpiece of the album, “PPP” (or Piss Poor Planning), melds a slow-dance melody with lyrics exploring the frailty of love.

Late cuts “Wildflower” and “Bluebird” flirt with imaginative escapism before the album closes with “Days of Candy,” a sprawling, synth-filled ode to sadness.  “I know it comes too soon, the universe is riding off with you,” Legrand sings, ending the album with a tinge of regret.

Like Beach House’s best works, Depression Cherry manages to effortlessly conjure wistful feelings for lost years. Their skill in evoking this bittersweet nostalgia is what makes Depression Cherry one of this year’s best.

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