Thursday, 17 May 2012
Beach House - Bloom
Following on from massive acclaim for their third album ‘Teen Dream’, it was difficult to picture how Beach House could follow up that sonically gorgeous, near flawless album. Guitarist Alex Scally recently stated, “I hate it when bands change between records […] That’s not the way we work”. Well, that answers that question. Yet the hypnotic allure of ‘Teen Dream’ was that the songs’ verses were almost as irresistible as the choruses. The first two tracks previewed from ‘Bloom’, “Myth” and “Lazuli”, proved that Beach House weren’t taking any risks for album number four. However, does ‘Bloom’ stand separately, or does it hide in its predecessor’s shadow?
‘Bloom’ is by no means a bad album. In fact, there isn’t a single bad song on it. Its only problem is that it will be compared to its predecessor countless times. The truth is it shouldn’t be compared to ‘Teen Dream’. For those wondering, the difference in quality is minimal, but it’s a crying shame that people won’t appreciate ‘Bloom’ as much as they should. Opener “Myth” is elegant, it pirouettes gracefully despite the throbbing bass and clattering drums. The music on ‘Bloom’ is fantastic, as always, simple yet effective guitar lines glide, especially on the beautiful “Wishes” and second track “Wild”, its soaring guitar lines complimenting Victoria Legrand’s otherworldly voice.
Despite the organ, guitar and drums, it’s Legrand’s voice that is the greatest instrument in Beach House’s locker, as shown in the stunning choruses of “Troublemaker” and “New Year”, yet she could probably make any chorus sound good. The backbone of most tracks on ‘Bloom’ is the mechanical drum beat, its metronomic quality awashed by live drums, organ arrangements, icy guitar lines, and Legrand’s dreamy vocals. There are absolutely no faults in terms of musicianship.
However, Beach House stated that they want people to listen to the songs rather than the sound itself. The songs might seem vaguely similar on first listen, but given time, slight changes start to appear. The lyrics are revealing yet you still feel they are referring to something hidden. The whole album has a diffuse yet intimate nature, which is testament to Beach House. Their music feels like an overheard secret, you can’t decide whether to keep it to yourself or tell everybody else about it.
Beach House’s music surrounds you, like the tide is slowly taking you away. You find yourself not having any worries, but instead thinking that you could get used to this feeling. While others will say there are no surprises on ‘Bloom’, there is no denying that it is still a breathtaking album.