Review Summary: Seventh Swell.
On their latest record, Beach House have gone above and beyond in reinventing themselves. Prior efforts such as Teen Dream
and Depression Cherry
found the duo delving deeper and deeper into faux-shoegaze indulgences and further away from the basest of dream pop inspirations. 7
represents a fresh start for the group, who've already established themselves as the critic's indie darlings, and into a vaguely harsher realm of distorted synth 'n' guitar discovery. Never before have Beach House sounded so upfront and confrontational, with songs such as "Drunk in L.A." and "Dark Spring" turning to a darker, more brooding side of the band's personality. While the band has always had a distinct sound, for better or worse, their intention during the production of 7
was to rejuvenate themselves entirely, and by doing so, transitioning into a new period in their career. No longer churning out the overly-lush tunes that'd be right at home at one of Pitchfork's yearly indie festivals, Beach House suddenly has chosen to carry a subtle edge in their newest selection of songs.
While there are incredibly familiar (and very "Beach House") sounds in songs like "Pay No Mind" and "Lose Your Smile," there are enough innovations in their latest iteration of dream pop-disguised as-shoegaze works to forgive the obvious flaws in songs such as these. In other words, try as they might, Beach House have truly been unable to reinvent themselves as they like to think, but to a certain extent, they've been able to create something very compelling and intriguing. Never at any point in their career have they been able to put forth an entire record of material worth the investment and the time, but leave it to them to record something as stellar as 7
to prove me wrong several years down the line.
Whether it's from the breathtaking intricacies of a career highlight like "L'Inconnue" or from the slow burn "Last Ride," an album like 7
easily sets itself apart from any other record Beach House has recorded thus far; it's far more easier to write it off as a derivative indie album, but to do so would discredit the obvious effort it took to actually record something so
different from every other album they've done yet. It's an album that has shown a progression of a band who've stubbornly refused to do so for well over a decade, what else could we truly ask of them❓