Review Summary: Even daydreamers like a little structure.
Beach House have never been quite as comfortable in their own shoes as in their latest release, Bloom. It’s quite the apt title; from somewhat of a dream-pop identity crisis arises a different specimen entirely. This is where the magic lies with the group’s third installment. The band’s previous album Teen Dream insisted on reeling in the listener, and played off as more of an involuntary slumber. However, Bloom finds Beach House at a comfortable stage where they don’t feel the need to hypnotize their listeners, possibly because they seem to be quite hypnotized themselves. This mesmerization is why your favorite Starbucks-stricken duo of 2012 have been all the rage lately - Bloom is the creation of delighted people, a collection of equally delightful tracks. And unlike their predecessors, the tunes this time aren’t as eager to ensnare the listener, instead luring potential fans in through meek innocence.
“Myth” starts the album off as patiently as any of the band’s past offerings, but with time transforms into one of 2012’s ballads to remember. The track perfectly exemplifies the more palatable side of Beach House that is only now coming to the surface, a duo perfectly comfortable with their roots and willing to expand upon them as necessary. For instance, the instrumentation is much more diverse than in past offerings: the drums hold their own, and build and deconstruct when required. The guitar parts are syrupy and intoxicating, but in the most organic way possible. The songwriting is perhaps the most impressive feature of “Myth”, because of how the group sway in and out of the tantalizing verses as only virtuosos would. It never drags, and some would call its denouement even a little early. This layout is likely planned, though, seeing as the rest of the album satisfies in all the right ways. “On the Sea” is just as invigorating as its title suggests, and glides along effortlessly; it even coalesces into an amalgam of instruments all utilized to their full potential, a mass movement in a direction so gripping that one wonders where the hell the old Beach House went. Their tendency of yesteryear, leanings towards ballads too sleepy for their own good, seems to have been completely demolished, and this is evident through the duration of Bloom.
Each song is part of an overarching mood whilst carving its own identity further with each listen. This mood is one of a lucid dream, one that ensnares the listener in its own creation. The whole album plays off similarly to a subconscious state of mind, a dream-pop-infused event encouraging only the strongest of imaginations. And how entertaining it is that this is achieved by organization of the highest degree; Bloom is as painstakingly organized as its dotted artwork, each musical pinnacle humbly complementing the next. Under a mirage of unassumingly plain tracks, every melody has a clear motive, however veiled by the misleading reverb that dresses up the whole package. Yes, Beach House want to appear aimless, and feign simplicity while scrambling to create the ideal soundscape. This new sense of purpose is what brings Bloom together at the end of the day, the sense that each note is just as integral to the whole as the one before. Even daydreamers like a little structure, and this album is evidence that even the most plainly wrapped package came from a certifiable blueprint that isn’t always evident, but does exist. It comes to fruition in the form of tangible ambition, realized passion in the studio, and leads to albums that are just as far-reaching as their creators hoped for. In this sense, Beach House are laying in their cozy hammock with a satisfying sense of accomplishment, and as they should be.
I don't know if you could call it dream pop, but that Youth Lagoon album from last year is what I expect from this sort of music. Really chill, but still varied enough to prevent it from becoming an awful drag.
Clercqie - I definitely know what you mean. Youth Lagoon was more indie with those dream/atmospheric influences, but it had a similar vibe that pulled me in as well. I also loved the lyrics on that album. Thanks for reminding me, I should check it out again soon. :]
Dave - thanks, dude. But saying a band is popular in Starbucks is no insult; they play pretty good stuff in there. I'm actually coming close to getting a job at my local one, so I guess I'm also biased. :P