This Beach House article was written by Joe Ó Broin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson
Not two months have passed since the release of their fifth LP ‘Depression Cherry’ and Baltimore duo Beach House are back with a bang on their follow up, ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ and it is the best kind of surprise.
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are extremely adamant ‘TYLS’ is not a companion to ‘Depression Cherry’ or in any way a bunch of tracks not worthy of being on their previous release. With that being said, the two albums were recorded at the same time in late 2014 and share that indistinguishable Beach House thread.
The two records could have very easily been merged to form a soundscape built on firmer ground where dreams could bloom, but to do so would be doing both records a disservice. Separation was necessary in order for the band to make two very different statements while creating two different worlds where one is light, the other dark, where one says “hi, come on in” the other “farewell forever”.
The first two Beach House records set the scene beautifully but when their Sub-Pop debut and third LP ‘Teen Dream’ fell from the clouds in 2010, all dream-pop hell broke loose. Out with the lo-fi. A new star was born. Instant classic. This was legit. No more messing about.
2012 follow up, ‘Bloom’ swept you up in its sparkle and shine, a grander experience for one and all with its meatier guitars, heavier percussion, cleaner vocals and all the sheen that comes with achieving semi-mainstream success. Beach House had reached the pinnacle of fame within their genre.
Then came ‘Depression Cherry’ in August of this year and it was a frustrating listen at first because the tracks took some time to resonate. But once given the space and time to breathe; the beauty of the record revealed itself. However, with the exception of lead single ‘Sparks’ the LP didn’t do much to push Beach House beyond the limitations they continue to impose on themselves.
Then Hallelujah! ‘Thank your Lucky Stars’ comes out of leftfield to remind us that they may not have changed the bathwater (ever) but they haven’t thrown the baby out with it either. Opener ‘Majorette’ is classic Beach House. Its swirls around Legrand’s “oohs and ahhs” and her repeated request for us all to “watch it spin like that” making it impossible not to hop on board the merry-go-round one more time.
‘One Thing’ with its looped guitar riff eventually breaks down into an incredible solo by Scally, reminding us that this is not the Legrand show per se, but he can slay when needed. The band performed this live on U.S late night talkshow Colbert and the performance was a stark reminder of how Beach House can be captivating whilst seemingly doing very little. When Victoria peaks out from behind her mane and coos “..a little fuck off kiss”…chills. Likewise, the use of the organ on mid-album highlight ‘The Traveller’ paired with one of the strongest vocal melodies that Legrand has come up with in a while is a masters guide in crafting sheer sonic class where you make the listener hang on every single word.
‘Elegy to the Void’ finds Beach House at their most grandiose since early career highlight ‘10 Mile Stereo’. Their ode to death and loss takes a My Bloody U-turn half way through and it’s genuinely a rush of blood to the soul which is a feeling they don’t evoke often enough nowadays. Let’s hope they remember this on LP number seven (next month maybe?)
Victoria croons on the ballroom ballad closer ‘Somewhere Tonight’ – “Let us find elation” and that’s all one can ask for in a Beach House record and it’s comforting to know they are searching for that same feeling as the rest of us.
One thing is for sure, Beach House should not be worried about people perceiving ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ as a collection of its slightly older siblings cast-offs, when in reality, this deeper, darker record is the best thing they’ve done all year.
‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ is out now via Bella Union