A beach house is usually a vacation spot, where people can get together and rejoice in the tranquil feeling of being able to enjoy a lush home located next to sound of waves. The soothing sounds of the waves gently crashing against each other, the calming feeling in knowing that there is not a care in the world and getting lost in the dream is a splendid fixation. They’ve always been able to create music to pair with this feeling of nostalgia but Beach House has somewhat, in a way, perfected their dream pop with Teen Dream, an album that flows like the beach and cascades with lush melodies, harmonies and fantastic gentleness.
Their focus has always been in creating these kinds of convoluted hazy experiences whereby the music takes you to another location. And while their craftiness starts and ends with Victoria Legrand’s magnetic singing, it reaches farther than you’d expect. Isn’t it great when you can just feel that a band’s next album will be the highest of their career? News was delivered that they’d finally employ live drums (plus one,) that’d it be honed in to ten solidified tracks of exquisiteness (plus two,) and that it follows the same path but with a reflective look at the past (plus three.) By the time “Take Care” comes around to close the album – beckoning trance and all – Teen Dream’s excellence has already won you over.
One thing lacking on Devotion was a true sense of rhythm. While the album hit on all of the marks concerning sound, melodies and even ambience, there was a missing drive that could propel it forward. And even with that crux, it’d still go on to be a favorite simply because of the duo’s ability at creating towering moments like “Gila.” Although there isn’t anything nearly as good as that aforementioned song on Teen Dream it showcases upbeat moments like “Lover of Mine,” a surreal combination of organ, synth and fantastic drums.
But an album can be just as strong, or better, as its predecessor by favoring song after song of brilliance rather than one glowing jewel surrounded by music that will always pale in comparison. “Zebra” rivals everything Beach House has ever made, though, with a song that captures the sound of thriving horses running in the field. Not only is the concept ingenious but for the simple fact that when the synths enter it’s an amazing moment, by the time those aforementioned live drums show up your jaw’s on the floor.
“Used to Be” is the album’s game-changer with a piano that’s always battling to remain on the backend of the beat and a layering of instruments that’s downright masterful. Gradually adding a snare, a tambourine and a rushing amount of cymbal (that creepily resembles the sound of a rolling wave) the song’s crescendo is a superb moment. It’s the kind of moment which has earned the love and praise of people like Ed Droste and Julian Casablancas and with it occurring in the meat of the album, after a quartet of songs that leave you intrigued and wanting more, the song’s chiming melody immediately signals that there needs to be another captivating moment to deliver the album from what we’d consider ‘good’ to a greater role.
On “Silver Soul,” Legrand is found singing, “It is happening again.” And she couldn’t be more right because for the third album in a row, Beach House ushered in their unique sound with an album that never tires. However, Teen Dream is a step up and justifiably so, its expressional devotion towards good music shines all around like a radiant day at the beach.
“Norway” by Beach House