Beach House – Devotion

Beach House

Dreamy music is just such a pleasant experience sometimes. It’s fun to hear and it takes you away to another place and time. And when it is done well, it can be truly uplifting and such a joy to hear. Baltimore pop duo, Beach House, have done just that with their second album, Devotion. With their brand of intriguing melodies and counter-part harmonies where both band members sing, this album is a surreal listen.

Things start off amazing with the surf-like tendencies of “Wedding Bells.” The music is spacey and ethereal that recalls a calming hymn. The very next song, “You Came to Me” is another special song. Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand sing joint melodies and harmonies as shakers and a tingling keyboard support them. Legrand also sings the verses with such a poignant touch while Scally harmonizes sweet “la-la-las” behind her. Scally then joins her as they both sing the chorus in a wonderful progression.

The best song, and justly so, is the first single off of Beach House, “Gila.” The guitar is the star of the show on this song as it plays a memorable line while Legrand sings. The best parts are when she and the guitar play off each other in a call and response/syncopated style. Legrand sings, “Don’t you waste your time, no, no, oh…” Every time that she sings the “oh” part, the guitar backs her with the perfect notes to make it one catchy hook, as opposed to repetitive drivel. The guitar then plays a menacing melody before Legrand sings again. All of the great and smart choice of sounds and instruments work extremely well: everything from the organ to the atmospheric touches, to the soft drumming, it’s pop perfection.

The same, dream-like feel is a prevalent feature on the album. The shaker on “Holy Dances” is a fantastic touch, as are the sleigh bells on “All the Years.” That’s certainly is an endearing factor on this album, the way everything just flows into each other is superb.

The only song that sounds a bit out of place, is also the shortest, a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Some Things Last a Long Time.” It’s a piano-driven song with some tribal-like drums that also has the least amount of atmospherics. This quickly changes with “Astronaut,” the longest song here, going just a bit over the five minute mark, that might also be the most upbeat and poppy one on the entire album. It starts off with a great bass line and more organ before Legrand appears with tender vocals. The disoriented guitar line is a great juxtaposition to the driving bass and it ends up being one of the better songs here.

As the album ends with the gentle, fittingly-titled, “Home Again,” you are left with a stunning 42-minute album. A lot of this music recalls many of the Beach Boys lush and diverse sounds—without the sprawling harmonies, of course—with some gorgeous atmospheric touches. This tandem of dream pop has crafted a beautiful, spectral and memorable album with Devotion.