Critical acclaim while meandering through the realms of commercially pleasing music stands as being the most tangential of dilemmas in today’s modern music. Beach House have somehow managed to do so from the onset of this decade. Take 2010’s “Teen Dream” hit single “10 mile stereo” – which was featured on a nationally broadcasted televised commercial – causing their music to unconciusly become part of popular culture. This is reminiscant to how extremly casual music fans, when questioned have no clue who “blur” are but throw on “song 2” and begin to observe them chanting “woo-hoo” like it is encrypted in their DNA to do so. Music permeates through the world anonymously. Beach House dominate both on a macro and micro level. Indie darlings who simaultanouesly have a track such as “Myth” on fourth LP “Bloom” in which it’s opening synth chords evoke a feeling of recognisability in most people. It is clear why brands gravitated towards Beach House – they are emotive. Of course all music to an extent is emotive but, Beach House differ primarelly because they encaptulate the process of emoting, and as adverts often emphazie on life cyles and how, you know purchasing their product will enhance your cycle – visually accompaying their ads with the music of Beach House made sense.
On their fifth full length LP Beach House continue with the utopian like emoting quality that made them ever so attractive to brands – slightly reconfiguring the formula in place of music that feels rather anti-love, and hinges on the idea of “beginning to end”– things don’t always last; everything comes in “sparks”.
“Sparks” the lead single emphasises on the deceptiveness of hope – either through economic promise or the longevity of love. “A new development, wishing that it meant something natural” the duo sings – contextually relates to the birthplace of Beach House: Baltimore, a city rampant with economic inequality, so the hope of “new development” feels rather hollow. Time is crucial here. Through time hope slowly recedes into cynicism, and perhaps this forms the contradictory antithesis of the album title.”Depression Cherry”, which may hint at the optimism – especially due to the textural sound of Beach House musically; clashing with the bitterness, and/or realisation of unfulfilling love narratives. Scally wails on “Space Song”: “who will dry your eyes when it falls apart?”. A rhetorical ode to the ending of all things. The ethereal, swirling synth lines on “Space Song” resemble those on “Bloom”– they settle into a melodic groove, one which pierces and emanates rather beautifully. In contrast to “Bloom”, there is less reliance on heavily produced percussion sections. Here we get a simple, lean rhythmic beat, allowing the synths and organ sounds to permeate even deeper. It all feels rather disorientating. “PPP” rings like a futuristic, gospel laced ballad. While bluebird’s opening guitar lines resemble the loose midnight tinged optimist sound of The “XX”, being drenched in late 20’s cynicism.
Beach House have somewhat achieved a hat trick of great records. This is rather surprising considering the similarities of both “Teen Dream” and “Bloom” to “Depression Cherry”– not much has changed or evolved both musically and thematically, which perhaps hints at the strength of their dream-like picturesque soundscapes. The constant pressure on bands to “evolve” or be experimental, deters a lot of consistent music making, but why should one reject a formula that has always worked?. With Beach House, referential points are no longer required. We know they resemble the shoe-gaze sound of Cocteau Twins, had they made stadium-sized anthems. Their sound is ever consistent, in a manner which isn’t played out. Attaching language or intellectualisation to Beach House, has always been difficult, and that is not going to change any time soon. They are a band who do not wish to provide answers, they just emote.
‘Depression Cherry’ is out on the 28th August 2015, via Bella Union