Beach House
Bloom


4.5
superb

Review

by greenpaintedcement USER (1 Reviews)
May 1st, 2012 | 174 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The band that continues to bear flowers...

“Saltwater,” the first song on the first album of Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House, set the stage perfectly for the band’s next five years– burbling, warped, lo-fi synths, a dim, beautiful hum of electric guitar, and Victoria Legrand’s reverb-soaked vocals portraying a nostalgic sense of longing. Throughout the course of their next two albums, this was the formula that was teased with and improved, but never drastically changed. It may seem like a crutch, relying on a single basic form over the course of 30 songs, but for Beach House it meant consistency and a slew of critical praise. This praise was more pronounced for 2010′s Teen Dream, the band’s first release on Sub Pop, due to a more pop-conscious sound and increased maturity. Bloom, also released by Sub Pop, sees Beach House continue on that same path.

This polished sound was immediatly evident in the first taste of Bloom we got: “Myth,” the opener and leadoff single. Apart from the immediate drum “clang” (a change from their usually very limited palette of drum tones), the first 45 seconds of “Myth” could be on any Beach House album: an elementary beat, an arpeggiating synth and a shimmering guitar line. But when Legrand begins singing, the sound gets deeper and groovier, and keeps growing with the addition of ethereal looped vocals in the background. The chorus strikes, the tempo doubles, and all of the sudden we’re not in the Kansas of lo-fi indie anymore. I’m not always a proponent of expensive, EQ’d-to-death sound, but on Bloom this nuanced approach leads to Oz-like results.

Some may mourn the old, reverb-shrouded sound, but when we get “Wild”‘s synth-pop-inspired verses, the stunning clarity of Legrand’s voice on “Other People” (arguably her best vocal performance yet), and downright interesting beats on “Troublemaker” and “Wishes,” it’s hard to complain about Beach House’s shiny new polish. I hesitate to use the phrase “adult alternative” in relation to Bloom, mostly because it conjures up images of Counting Crows, Matchbox 20 and David Gray, but if you’re reading this Mom, I really feel like you’d dig this. I almost get a Stevie Nicks vibe from some of Legrand’s confidant vocals. Sadly, this means that almost all weird aspects (you know, the drone-y, spaced out parts) of Beach House’s sound are gone, much to my dismay. But within a capital-driven music industry that strains 95% of the weirdness out of 95% of bands, I have to at least be happy that Beach House underwent this increase in orthodoxy more gracefully than the vast majority of their peers (see: Neon Indian’s Era Extraña).

Some of this increased maturity also comes from Bloom‘s lyrical content. Whereas Teen Dream used walks in the park, black and white horses, stone-throwing and Scandinavian countries as guises for love songs, Bloom is a bit more straightforward, and a hell of a lot more of a morose. Through various clues: “other people want to keep in touch,” “watch it unravel, pulling everything apart,” “don’t know which side you’re on,” to name a few, it becomes clear that this is an album about getting over someone. But this isn’t some sad sack, “one person doesn’t like me so *** the world,” Conor Oberst bull***. Bloom is uplifting in the way your parents and friends are supposed to be after a breakup– telling you how ***ty your ex was, doing the whole “fish in the sea” speel– letting a sense of hope override the gloom. I think this is where the blooming metaphor comes into play, as a sign of new life, but it can also be applied to the album’s burst of colorful sound, and more primitively, to its Spring release date. Bloom reiterates the consistency that has come to define Beach House’s six year career, and in my mind, is grounds to call them a true “mainstay” band in the indie community. May they continue to flower and bear fruit for years to come.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
gabethepiratesquid
April 30th 2012


4521 Comments


Still need to check this out. Band is so gooooood.

MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 30th 2012


2887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shit is gorgeous yo

gabethepiratesquid
April 30th 2012


4521 Comments


downloaded this but from what I've heard from the stream it doesn't beat Teen Dream
but then again that's kind of a big feat.

TooLateToGoBack
May 1st 2012


1775 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Can't wait for this album.

Teen Dream was almost perfect.

Scoot
May 1st 2012


17816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

aoty so far, album is just phenomenal

Anthracks
May 1st 2012


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

ill never understand this website

Digging: Radio Moscow - Magical Dirt

Scoot
May 1st 2012


17816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

look at your dig

now at this review

now back to your dig

there's your answer

Anthracks
May 1st 2012


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

im not sure what that has to do with beach house. you guys are always trying to pull irrelevant things into the mix. stay focused

typical argument on sputnik:

User A: I don't like this
User B: *looks through User A's ratings to find something generally maligned* HAHA YOU LIKE ________ YOU MORON

the end

Scoot
May 1st 2012


17816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this is anything but my thing and i still enjoy it immensely

that should tell you all you need to know

TooLateToGoBack
May 1st 2012


1775 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

72% Death Metal?

Shouldn't you be on Metal Archives?

Anthracks
May 1st 2012


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

wow 2/2 for pulling irrelevant things when one states they don't like a pitchfork-beloved band. anyone else?

AsoTamaki
May 1st 2012


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lol.

Pretty sure there's no stream so yeah, go ahead and do this thread up Sputnik style. Good start so far.

gabethepiratesquid
May 1st 2012


4521 Comments


"typical argument on sputnik:

User A: I don't like this
User B: *looks through User A's ratings to find something generally maligned* HAHA YOU LIKE ________ YOU MORON

the end"

I usually don't agree with Anthracks but this is kinda dumb (and I have been guilty of this but I stopped cuz I did realize it's dumb)

Anthracks
May 1st 2012


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

when people do it, it just proves how they are listening to something for bragging rights rather than for sheer passion of music. someone truly passionate about this band would see my dislike as an opportunity to enlighten me (despite the likely futility).

gabethepiratesquid
May 1st 2012


4521 Comments


true dat. People who feel like listening to music is a huge part of their lives usually have really
bad music superiority complexes because their taste has to be the best and unique.

sniper
May 1st 2012


19076 Comments


great review, pos. might check this out, teen dream was like a 3/3.5 for me.

gabethepiratesquid
May 1st 2012


4521 Comments


I was going to make a joke about how 3 out of 3.5 seemed like a pretty impressive score (since you
said the score was 3/3.5) but I did the math and that would still be a 3/5

(((

sniper
May 1st 2012


19076 Comments


success.

anyway, this is probably the most striking cover art i've seen in a while. not that it matters much.

sniper
May 1st 2012


19076 Comments


actually you're not correct, that would be a solid 4

liledman
May 1st 2012


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is lacking some kind of something that makes it go from just being pretty music to being teen dream.



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