Review: Beach House's Teen Dream

Ladies & Gentlemen, I make mistakes.

When I first heard about Beach House two years ago, I paid them no mind. Then, when their brilliant sophomore album, Devotion, was released, I was exposed to something both mystifying and engaging. That something was the collective talent of both Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand who, together, form Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House.

Their third full-length album, Teen Dream (note: not this Teen Dream), was released today on Sub Pop. The minute the tiny ossicles in my ears receive sound waves that represent the guitar on the album’s opening track, “Zebra”, something happened. Not just any something, a significant something. Soon after, that first something was followed by another something, even stronger than the first.
I’d officially taken the plunge.
Of course, it must be said: listening to Beach House’s music requires a certain level of immersion, good reader. For most, if not all, this immersion happens without notice. It would take an incredible amount of ill-advised will power to not succumb to the whimsical advances of easily my favorite track on the album, “Used to Be”. That being said, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the ability to resist this album’s mellow swoon. One that, refreshingly enough, stands out among the band’s other releases. To put it simply, Teen Dream has ‘bigger’ songs; livelier, even. Both Beach House and Devotion had that level of sedation to them thanks to their heavy-hearted writing and in Devotion‘s case, it’s melancholic song structure. However, with Teen Dream, Scally and Legrand don’t seem to be floating around anymore. If you listen to “Norway”, you can tell that they are no longer lost in the clouds and, in fact, have found their feet. This stability serves as an excellent foundation for a more dynamic collection songs that house their most eloquent and poignant of stories. While on the subject of eloquence, Victoria Legrand remains one of my favorite female vocalists; raspy wail and all. Her voice eliminates my need for a visual perspective and I’m absolutely thankful for that. In conclusion, much like a butterfly, with this album, Beach House is born anew.

Beach House – Norway

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