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4.2 out of 5 stars13
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2009
Beach House is an American duo that are often described as 'Dream Pop'. Their lulling vocals do certainly draw comparison with the likes of The Cocteau Twins and, more recently, Grouper, while instrumentally they are nearer to Joanna Newsom, Nick Drake, elements of Broadcast and even Big Star. The third track on the album, `Gila', even sounds a little like the Beatles' quieter moments.
Acoustic singer-songwriter style records can often feel a little tedious, but Beach House have managed to find a place somewhere between the rich vein of melodious, harmonic, wandering vocals and the land of traditional pop songs...and they have mined it to perfection.
The album sounds like it could have been made in the late 60s, yet at the same time it sounds fresh. There's plenty of variety in here, from the melancholic drone of `Turtle Island' to Spaceman 3 infused lilts of `All the Years'.
Fans of any of the bands mentioned above will find something to treasure in this record, along with fans of the Beach Boys, Animal Collective and Stereolab. Beach House bring elements of all these bands together but produce something truly unique and original. A record worth listening to.
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on 4 January 2011
Just buy everything that Beach house create....I don't know what to first mention....creativity, imagination, vocals, an out of earth sound. It deffinitely is something beyond the alternative sphere. I own only this album because is the cheapest in amazon but I plan to buy Teen dream too. I can't imagine one more autumn goes by without hearing Walk in the park. But the review is for this album, so just listen to Heart of chambers and you'll know what I mean.
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The name of Beach House might imply a certain kind of pop -- sunny, frothy, sort of a Beach Boys vibe.

If so, that name is very deceptive, because their music is none of the above. Hailing from Baltimore, Beach House's second album "Devotion" is more like sleeping in a haunted, jewelled music box -- all ghostly singing, lushly sparkling pop instrumentation and sensually dreamy melodies.

"Wedding Bell" spins itself a stately, rippling organ'n'grimy riffs framework, with Victoria Legrand's pretty, eerie voice singing distantly, "You're ringing the only wedding bell/and we're swimming the seas we know so well... I tried to stay in line in our bed/in our heads/Oh, but your wish is my command..." It's very catchy in a neo-Victorian shoegazer way, although much catchier than anything that follows.

But things get far eerier in "You Came to Me," a shimmering ghostly pop ballad punctuated by sweeps of satiny keyboard and timpani. That style carries over into the lilting, swirling sound of "Gila," ruled by a truly exquisite organ melody. And not many singers could sing the name of a lizard and actually sound serious.

And those songs set the tone for much of the album -- ethereal organ laments, shimmering little pop tunes strung with tambourine and swirling guitar, sparkling melodies with spacey carnival synth, tinkly soaring ballads, and so forth. But it ends as catchily -- if more alluringly -- as it started, with the warm, wobbling "Home Again." It sounds exactly as the title would imply.

If I had to describe the particular sound of Beach House, I'd have to say it sounds like an American Nico... fronting the musical lovechild of Mazzy Star and Goldfrapp's latest. Yeah, that sounds weird, but "Devotion" has qualities of those bands -- the haunting vocals, the swirling shoegazer-like pop balladry, and the sparkling framework of lush, warm electronica. Well, the carnival music doesn't entirely fit in.

The first song is a bit of a sore thumb, being rockier and peppier than all the rest -- it's lovely, but seems like a hook to draw you in. But after that, the album is enfolded in a swirling mass of swirling ringing guitars and Legrand's majestic, shimmering organ. Alex Scally wraps every melody in a elusive, hazy shell of keyboard. And there's a Nicoesque tambourine that gets shaken through some of the songs, as well as that great timpani.

Legrand's voice is really a lovely one, but filtered to sound powerfully ethereal. She can infuse a feeling of poignant longing into the songs -- they tend to be about loving someone in the moment, or from afar ("we still have the summers/to be good to one another"), and have moments of truly striking imagery ("... spending money/on a desert rose/holy dances and acronyms/for bones").

Haunting, beautiful and melodious, their second album "Devotion" is a step up for Beach House. Definitely one of this year's must-hears.
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on 29 March 2011
this their second cd is just gorgeous...dream pop, little lush orchestrations, so simple yet so full of thriving energy and passion. victoria's voice just soars...if you're lucky this will get in your head (heart) and never leave....
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on 22 May 2010
I just love this. I've had it for at least two months now, and I still want to listen to it in its entirety all the time (these days, most albums get around 3 listens from me before they disappear into shuffle mode). This kind of album doesn't come along very often. And really, can you get a better recommendation than that?

I'd put this up there with other personal landmarks such as Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's 'Ease Down the Road' and Cat Power's 'The Covers Record'.

I think it's the choruses that do it for me. The melodies have this warm and haunting tone. They're just perfect to listen to when you want to wind down (perhaps with a couple of little drinkies?) and leave you feeling blissful and lovey. Who could complain about that?

I'm already checking out their other stuff on Spotify (record companies note: this makes it more likely that I will buy stuff in future) and making plans to catch them live.
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on 16 January 2013
I became aware of this band thro their record label putting out composite festival CDs, but have also seen them play live twice at festivals and am quite impressed with their sound and their songs.
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on 22 December 2010
I could not hum a single tune from this record, or quote one line of the lyrics: it bypasses ordinary consciousness and goes straight to the level of dreams. Melodic, soft but distinctive.
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on 8 April 2014
Perfect, nice edition, wonderfull blue vinyl!

Very fast and everything was good!

see you soon i hope to get some more albums!
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on 6 December 2010
Good album, I simply love this group! Saw them recently at Oran Mor in Glasgow, best gig in ages. So much better than all the garbage in the charts just now. Must be destined for greater things. If you like them try Band of Horses.
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on 3 May 2010
Definitely this album is a bit of a grower. At first it sounded a little average, with repeated listens its developed and opened up.
Keep with it and I think you'll like it.
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