This review is from: Teen Dream (W/Dvd) (Audio CD)
Beach House emerged on the surface of my music collection late in the bands career. The first I heard of them was browsing Pitchfork, who connected them with sounding like Cocteau Twins, one of my favourite bands. Their music labelled under "dream pop" could be described with words such as ethereal, majestic, elegant, and charming. I did not think this style could have an equal twin so to speak, but like their music; listening to Teen Dream feels like being wrapped up in the world's biggest fluffy cloud whilst on a generous dose of diazepam.
Except this is not so much Cocteau Twins as a new band with the lead singer having vocals entirely unlike Elizabeth Frazier. Her sounds are deeper and more defined but suit the lower production values with a simplistic approach to the tracking. Where Beach House really impress is in the progression and gradual higher definition of the chord structures being used. This is an album which does not grab your full attention on first listen, and demands repeated listens for full effect.
Silver Soul relies on dissonance and sliding bottleneck guitar. This is the start to the album and actually sounds contrasting to the rest of Teen Dream in all it's catchiness. It's former, Zebra, has a gentle guitar lick which has a strange charisma about it, almost bereft of bass, whilst drum machines play and you actually picture horses galloping along to it.
Walk In The Park begins with an organ playing a relaxed, almost sombre ditty, with Scally's tense, aching guitar licks moving in an out of the track until a slight chord change moves the song into spacey territory with trademark Robin Guthrie guitar enveloping around you.
The greatest display of Beach House's writing comes on Lover Of Mine, which has two parts, verse/chorus repeated - and then breaks down into what can only be described as an orgasmic assault of intense emotions ranging from loss to overwhelming pleasure, which fades quickly and demands the listener repeat this adventure. It's also where the lead singer reaches her vocal pinnacle as she hits high notes and for a second sounds like Alison Goldfrapp.
The closing of Teen Dream changes the setting somewhat with Real Love, a fairly non-dreamy effort, but still soothing somewhat.
This is often recognised as Beach House's best album, although I have to disagree as Bloom is overall a more consistent album throughout. Teen Dream's only critique from me is the last quarter does not match up to the former. Never-the-less, this is still essential listening for fans of dream pop and one where Beach House cement themselves in the genre above so many.