Thursday, 18 February 2010

REVIEW: Beach House - Teen Dream

Having already provided more than enough preamble in the build up to the release of this new Beach House jam, I'll simply move right along to the prime cut of the review itself.....

Opener Zebra holds a subtle beauty, with that androgynous vocal commanding the subservient yet hypnotic guitar tones. The delicate percussion is also understated until the chorus, as cymbal splashes create an ever so slight celebratory atmosphere, before receding back into the mix. It's an exemplary introduction to the quiet majesty that Beach House evoke.

Familiar lead track Norway chimes in with a fuller, more upbeat tone and that amazingly woozy effect reverberating behind the song, creating a submerged feeling as if the whole thing was recorded in an Atlantis studio. It feeds into an unfeasibly addictive song and an early album highlight that should win the band many new friends.

MP3: Beach House - Norway (via Insound)
Taken from new album Teen Dream, out now

Buy it at Insound!

The same sleepy, hazy atmosphere remains a defining characteristic throughout Teen Dream, be it emphasised by the symphonic chorus on Walk In The Park or the ever-winding path laid out on Better Times. There's just something in the languid vocal style of Victoria Legrand that raises a light mist over each track, without ever losing the intangible authority that she somehow delivers in the same breath.

Further in, the centre of the album holds a true delight in the opening bars of Lover of Mine, which does bring something of a varied tone to proceedings with its shimmering keys. The song also feels more upbeat in approach, with both the singing and instrumentation reaching for higher peaks than they tend to elsewhere on Teen Dream.

This notable high may also flag one of the very few nagging doubts on this latest effort, namely the tendency to stick to the signature drowsy sound without venturing too far outside. Though this does come to mind from time to time during repeat listens, in truth it is also a key strength that binds the songs together and makes for a thoroughly coherent listening experience.

Beach House make music that, for the most part, explores the nuances of a very specific sound. That they probe these niches extensively rather than continually seeking out bold new sounds is to their benefit, as it contributes to making Teen Dream such a unique effort and one that adds satisfyingly to a bevvy of first class releases early in the year.

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