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Beach House - In Bloom,
This review is from: Bloom (Audio CD)
How do you follow an album which was a dreamy pop masterwork that single handidly made a lush electronic form of shoegaze music the height of fashion and left a trail of broken hearts from New York to Newquay? It also saw young men (and rather aged males) fall hopelessly in love with the dulcet dones of the sultry chanteuse Victoria Legrand and give fulsome admiration to the musical wonders conjured by Alex Scally from his pole position in Beach House. 2010's opus "Teen Dream" was a wonder indeed and from the minute Legrand crushed you with longing regret of "Walk in the park" or had you singing at the top of your voice to the wonderful distortion of "Norway" you knew you had encountered something very special.
In terms of the Baltimore duo's latest offering its safe to say that if you loved "Teen Dream" the romance is about to be rekindled. There is certainly progression on "Bloom" which makes it a cleaner more pure pop form of music but at the same time this album is certainly the first cousin of "TD" and if you had put the lovely opener "Myth" as the eleventh track on that album frankly no one would notice the joins. It is a scintillating pop song full of huge Legrand choruses and Scally instrumentation which concludes with a huge finale of bells, guitars synths, kitchen sinks et al. Next up is "Wild" a song which your reviewer has become so smitten with it is with a sense of regret that the third track comes on. It is a pounding shimmering pop song with a superb vocal and imbued with that latent regret that the sweet raspy voice of Legrand should seek a patent to protect. Equal wonders follow not least the lifting bliss of "Lazuli" (appropriately a stone, revered for its intense blue radiance) where music pundits have noticed the Liz Frazier dimensions of Legrand's huge vocal. There however a couple of minor slip ups within the album. The song "Other people" for instance is a wonderfully gossamer thin pop song all airy graces and appears to be created as a potential single. Repeated listens however suggest that it is neither fish nor fowl and it is not a song on the album where your automatically aim the needle of the record player. Similarly why do bands persist in the high irritation of the hidden concluding album track where you wait an eternity to be deliriously shocked by the presence of more music which you knew was already there in the first place (Beach House have never really majored on 16 minute songs). Its a shame really since the gorgeous mystery track "Wherever you go" which follows the rather harsh "Irene" harks back nicely to the Beach House of the earlier "Devotion" era and didn't need to be tucked away.
These are small quibbles in the grand scheme of things and once you hear the truly wonderful rolling piano ballad "On the sea" the bands genius is laid bare for all to admire and leave you with a quivering lip. Beach house are consumate musicians who have perfected an approach which is distinctively their own and which delivers time after time. "Teen Dream" was an album of such greatness that following it was bound to be a difficult prospect, Equally "Bloom" is an album which is deeply layered and textured and reveals a little more beauty and depth on each listen. Who knows with the passage of time it may well be every bit the equal to its august predecessor? "Time is the revelator" as Gillian Welch once wisely observed and for now just enjoy another wonderful instalment of music from this dynamic duo.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 May 2012 19:03:23 BDT
Simon F says:
Nice review - especially agree with you on 'Wild', but I disagree on 'Other People' - on the first couple of goes I had a similar impression (good track after three great ones) but with repeated listens I've been drawn back to it, especially the twinkly shift after the 3 minute mark. Don't give up on it yet ;-)
Posted on 15 May 2012 23:17:12 BDT
The Wolf says:
I'm going to have to give this a listen now. I loved their last offering.
It may be a tad off-piste for you but give Niki & The Dove's debut
album 'Instinct' a go. I profess myself besotted!
In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 07:16:14 BDT
Red on Black says:
Simon thanks for the comment I shall stick with "other people" but not one of my favourites yet. Wolf good to hear from you and thanks for the tip. I shall head to "instinct" post haste. Regards RoB
Posted on 19 May 2012 14:34:44 BDT
Stevie Dal says:
Nice review as ever my friend. When YOU point me in the direction of something , i know it'll be worth the money. Getting it tomorrow but i've heard On The Sea a few times.......wow. Song of the year so far , to these ears. Such beauty.
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