Music

Beach House: Beach House

Baltimore duo spins soft vocals, electrified keyboards and mechanical percussion into pearlized fogs of melancholy pop.


Beach House

Beach House

Label: Car Park
US Release Date: 2006-10-03
UK Release Date: 2006-10-02
Amazon
iTunes

Half hidden, Beach House's songs emerge from a dense, nebulous drift of reverbed sound, sad in the way that happy memories can be sad, simply because you can't quite get a grip on them. Partners Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally build layered, narcotic dreamscapes out of washes of voice, percussion, guitar, and keyboard, always more going on in a track than you hear at first. Album opener "Saltwater" emerges softly from a swirl of organs, its mechanical pulse all-Casio derived cymbal and snare. (The band's MySpace says they don't use drum machines, but almost all the percussion sounds programmed to me.) Legrand's voice floats disengaged over the top, cool and impressionistic as she mouths words like "Love you all the time / You couldn't lose me if you tried." "Tokyo Witch" is just as good, shaken sleigh bells keeping time as Legrand follows a snake-y organ melody through hallucinatory landscapes of mahjongg parlors. "Apple Orchard" leans further into country territory, its pedal steel guitar freeform and organic over geometric figures of keyboard. "Auburn and Ivory", with its waltz time keyboards and metronomic percussion, is a minor-key lament whose emotive power builds as the piece progresses. Scally's voice turns interestingly snarly at times, disturbing the limpid pool of sound, and she sounds like a whole other person, more passionate, more engaged, more Orbison-ish and louder in the chorus of "I'll wait for you / I'll wait for us." It is, perhaps, the best five seconds on the album. Yet don't write off late-disc triumphs like "House on the Hill", its clanking, nautical percussion subsiding under radiant washes of keyboard sound and rapid-fire guitar-picked runs, and Legrand self-harmonizing in heady sweetness. One complaint, though: when the main part of the album is so exceptionally well-shaped and unitary, why tack on an unrelated "hidden track" after "Heart and Lungs"? It's like another chapter after a page clearly marked "the end."

8

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.