Beach House
Teen Dream


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kiran EMERITUS
January 19th, 2010 | 323 replies | 30,826 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There's something perpetually charming about Beach House and Teen Dream is their best release yet.

Ever since their eponymous debut album began gracing the ears of eager listeners, Beach House's reputation has been passed along by whispers through cupped hands; they were everybody’s well-known little secret. Their dreamy follow-up Devotion continued where its predecessor left off, curling up comfortably inside the hearts of those lucky enough to pay attention to the reasonable amounts of hype it received, garnering the critical praise of several large indie publications in the process. With their third album, Teen Dream, the duo return to remind everyone just why they fell so truly, madly, deeply in love with the husky-voiced Victoria Legrand and her multi-instrumentalist cohort Alex Scally, and by no small margin is this their best effort to date.

Legrand has always been the main talking point when it comes to the band but never has the vocalist deserved the praise as much as now. In fact, Legrand’s performance on Teen Dream is so inspired, it makes Devotion, in all its sophistication, come across as flat-footed in comparison to Teen Dream’s ballerina, floating from toe to toe with precision, elegance and sexually-ambiguous grace (the number of people who think Alex also sings is staggering). The chanteuse captures an intimate charm akin to the likes of Nico and wispy clouds of cigarette smoke drifting in and out of underground jazz lounges and such is her seemingly nonchalant, effortless command of it that songs like the achingly reflective “Used to Be” live and die by her delicate touch.

It would be uncharacteristically ungrateful of me to ignore Alex Scally’s role in the mix, however, as the instrumental backbone of the group is vital in constructing the atmospheric, languid quality that makes Teen Dream a genuine experience. “Lover of Mine” showcases some exquisite keyboard and guitar melodies that at moments even outshadow Legrand, although it’s not a case of one against the other but rather the full force of the two as a duo and nowhere is that as potent as it is on “Norway”. In what is almost certainly the most single-handedly remarkable moment of Teen Dream, “Norway” opens with the breathy, melodic humming of Legrand over shimmering, harp-esque guitars that feel nearly as engulfing as the deep, sensual tone Legrand channels during the verses that follow.

Though Devotion and their self-titled debut both utilized a much rawer approach, Teen Dream features very noticeable changes in production. Like sandpaper to a rough edge, the production on Teen Dream creates a far smoother, lighter sounding Beach House and it’s a sound that is far easier to appreciate than before. Criticism can be levied in the form of monotony – some might find the tracks too similar sounding and it’s true that most of them build upon the same values but with only 10 tracks, it’s just long enough to be rewarding but short enough to not overstay its welcome. Whereas anything more may have begun to tip the scale and even – dare I say it – become boring, Teen Dream ends with its dignity in tact; a statement that perhaps cannot always be attributed to the theme of the record.

At it’s heart, Teen Dream is a high school romance: gushing, naïve and heartbreaking among other things and the aesthetic beauty of the album is complemented strongly by the thematic sincerity that Legrand portrays. “Walk in the Park” falls in and out of love, it’s all happening again and again and again for “Silver Soul” and closer “Take Care” sees Legrand assure us, “I’ll take care of you / if you ask me to” in one of the more comforting sentiments of the record and one that sends Teen Dream to it’s end quite fittingly. Rest assured, Beach House will see you through some lonely nights.



Recent reviews by this author
Unknown Mortal Orchestra IIBeirut The Rip Tide
Alex Turner Submarine OSTClive Tanaka y Su Orquesta Jet Set Siempre No. 1
Robyn Body TalkThe Concretes WYWH
user ratings (650)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Comatorium. (4.5)
Ever been to Merriweather?...

Rudy K. STAFF (3)
Would take the timeshare in the Keys over this in a heartbeat....

Eric (3.5)
When it comes down to it, Teen Dream is absolutely charming; little more, and little less....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kiran
Emeritus
January 19th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

streaming in its entirety for UK residents and in 30 second clips for those elsewhere: http://www.nme.com/news/beach-house/49275

release date is the 25th.

edit - US stream now too

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122216618

PuddlesPuddles
January 19th 2010



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm colorblind, so on the front page it looked like this didn't have an album cover (if that IS the
reason I can't. maybe its just too bright)

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2010



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thanks for link, i ll listen. great review btw

Kiran
Emeritus
January 19th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it is actually pretty hard to see puddles but it's distinguishable!

SeaAnemone
January 19th 2010



19721 Comments


ahhhhh i reviewed this already

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2010



10257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

if i didn't like devotion i probably shouldn't expect much different from this, eh?

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

SeaAnemone
January 19th 2010



19721 Comments


I didn't like Devotion.

I like this.

Roach
January 19th 2010



2149 Comments


this is pretty ok

Ponton
Emeritus
January 19th 2010



5784 Comments


Well done, sir. Pos.

Have you considered writing under a pen name?

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2010



10257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nils Gasm

AggravatedYeti
January 19th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know youve been talking about this for weeks now, I guess I should get it.

Kiran
Emeritus
January 20th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have you considered writing under a pen name?

ya, I guess I really should now, since Kirgasm just sounds stupid

you should still post your review, seanemone!

yes yeti and rudy, you should both give this a go. i'm sure you'd like it yeti and rudy, this is far easier to get into than devotion, trust me

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2010



10257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's not that i couldn't get into it, it's that it was boring as fuck

Kiran
Emeritus
January 20th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i meant that in the way that it's far easier to like than devotion

listen to norway and if you dont like it go home

natey
January 20th 2010



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually liked Devotion so I'm psyched to hear this. unfortunately every time I've tried to get it my internet's crashed so

nice review

plane
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2010



6085 Comments


Walk in the Park is fantastic. Album remains a veil I can't uncover, which is maddening since the songs themselves are quite good. I just feel what makes the album special (its production/mood) is the very reason I can't fully appreciate it. In a matter of time...

Kiran
Emeritus
January 20th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think one of the best qualities this has is that there's so much to enjoy at face value that this is still an enjoyable listen even if you haven't quite cracked the surface or really connected with it yet

Ponton
Emeritus
January 20th 2010



5784 Comments


I love the new name.

Kiran
Emeritus
January 20th 2010



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha, it's my real name! i couldn't think of a cool pen name that didn't sound outrageous so i thought i might as well

Ponton
Emeritus
January 20th 2010



5784 Comments


Haha, that's what I did too after I scrapped the old one.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy