Whilst Beach House formed in 2004 it was not until the release of Teen Dream in 2010 (which was also accompanied by their departure from Carpark records to the forever propitious Sub Pop label) that the Baltimore-based duo began to culminate a bigger batch of followers. Following the widespread success of their third album it wasn’t before long that the dream poppers became a staple part of the alternative listener’s diet. Two years on, we see the release of Bloom and we’re all reminded of why the pair continue to be adored. The fourth record sees the band fully immerse themselves in the honeyed sound which made us crave them in the past and additionally, they expand and experiment further on their signature reverberation. This effort creates nothing short of (if I may echo the words of lead vocalist Victoria Legrand on the concluding track ‘Irene’) a ’strange paradise’.
Call me a criminal for stealing such a metaphor but the way in which Beach House’s Alex Scally fondles his guitar throughout the album leads to the formulation of distinct utopian tones that blissfully melt together, forming an audible delight. The format of many tracks featured on Bloom begin by laying a bed of lo-fi percussive sounds that then become swept up in a whirlwind of warm synthesized tones which copulate with a tide of reverb drenched guitar. To top this formula off, Legrand seems to engage more confidently with the melodies established on Bloom, often mirroring the direction that Scally’s guitar takes. However, this is not predictably always the case as there are appropriate moments in which Legrand takes the bold move to diverge from the familiar hooks as she howls independently over the track, incorporating an amalgamation of emotions. I believe that it are these moments that illustrate the newer and more self-assured Beach House that had perhaps been hiding on previous releases. Similarly, it is the continuation of their trademark ethereal riffs accompanied with Legrand’s classic crooning that makes Bloom the most appealing album in their discography. Their fourth effort demonstrates that the indie heavyweights are now fully comfortable in their own skin and whilst this record may not demonstrate a drastic reinvention of their music, it is nevertheless a positive evolution for the band.
Words: George Hemmati