4 out of 5
The appeal of Beach House is intrinsically interrelated with the mindset of the listener. This is not music for those who like hard riffs, pounding bass or technical variation. This is music for people who want to aurally recollect their subconscious; who want to be caught half way betwixt reality and a dreamworld. The delicate beats coupled with Victoria Legrand’s ethereal voice manage to take uncomplicated melodies and elongate them to their limit, creating a vast sonic landscape. Once a listener is captivated it is impossible to ignore the music’s intricacy, while not failing to marvel at its simplicity. This is music designed for introspection; you have to let the music in, but once there it will inevitably induce a uniquely individual reaction. Sort of like musical heroin.
For those familiar with Beach House their new album, Bloom, does not contain many surprises. It can be seen that the production has become a little more polished since 2006’s Beach House, but it is difficult to appreciate the process of refinement because it has been so gradual over the past 3 releases. This is unless you pursue the near-impossible task of ignoring Legrand’s ubiquitous vocals. The arrangements, if anything, have become even simpler than before, with guitar, piano, drums and synths all blending together so seamlessly it is difficult to separate them at times. ‘Myth’ and ‘Lazuli’ provide the closest examples of what could be seen as ‘hits’, though when listening to the whole alum they’re barely distinguishable in composition from tracks like ‘On the Sea’, which uses three notes for pretty much the whole song. ‘Irene’ is a typically layered track which reigns in its instrumentation until it is seamlessly repeating itself, before throwing the listener back out to fend for themselves among the tidal waves of crushing reverb.
Almost all of Beach House’s music that has been made up to this point flows from a single source; Beach House, Devotion and Teen Dream are all very much present on Bloom. Beach House’s music is predicated upon layers of tiered saturation; in making more music they are widening the possibilities of sonic exploration, but only within their defined paradigm. They’re building directly upon what they’ve already established, not seeking to create distinct lateral extensions. In the enigmatic realm of dream-pop Beach House are moving inextricably upward, rather than forward.