Beach House just released Thank Your Lucky Stars, their second album in two months. How anyone can release so much material so quickly is a mystery to begin with, but their sound has a mysterious simplicity where it sounds like more of an utterance versus a composition. Vocalist Victoria Legrand's lyrics are so metaphorically captivating that each song is just a poetic metamorphosis. The words are born, simply, and, at maturity, they are simply beautiful. They're delivered with Legrand's airy voice that could be the vocal love child of Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins and Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead that is then highlighted by bold, penetrating textures similar to Imogen Heap. It would take patience from someone who isn't a fan of the more "drag your feet" kind of sound to get into this album. I typically don't have the patience for what I call "drag your feet" music, and I can't quite pinpoint how this album sounded different. I classify any band with an uneventful vocalist, anticlimactic song structure, or lack of experimentation to be the "drag your feet" sound. It's by no means a degrading classification, it's just a sound that doesn't typically make the radio, although I would not say Beach House strictly belongs to it.
I didn't know how I'd feel about the 9-track record when hearing the debut song "Majorette." Although I did decide how I felt the moment the following track, "She's So Lovely" began. When the arresting beat and whimpering organ opened the song, I was hooked. "She's So Lovely" is simply creepy. Not scary, but haunting and creeping. The sounds seep and blend into one another to create a halting, yet fluid feeling. Legrand's singing is painful. She sings "She's So Lovely" like a ghost, who's trapped in a realm that she cannot escape and is forced to endure. She's enduring the subject "she," whose coexistence is an excruciating feat as opposed to company. She opens the song with "She's so lovely/ Everything about her /Mannerisms of another" but later sings "From the way that her eyes are shaped/ and it's making me sick." It's torturous in the most awesome of ways (awe-some, literally).
The single off the new release "One Thing" is right out of a softcore sex scene from a 90's movie. The kind where you have to uncomfortably watch a scraggly haired white boy finally leave the friend zone, as he and his high school crush gaze at each other while they undress. Yeah, it's terribly awkward, but this song would be perfect for that scene. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't give this song a chance; it is good. This album is good. As good as it is, it really is simple, and accidentally romantic. There is an air of eased control that's consistent in the album from start to finish. Each song could be made extremely loud, but it is with intention that they are kept at a dreamy, sleepy degree that forces you to truly absorb the sounds that support the piece.
Beach House creates even more imagery with "Traveller." This song begins with the church like organs that you can hear throughout the record as they are applied to an airy pop beat and seductive guitar work. This is an existential song playing with the ideas of life, one's purpose, and time. I found this track to be the most lyrically enticing, but other than "She's So Lovely," my favorite is easily the closing track, "Somewhere Tonight." It has the most romantic sound of them all, while it is oozing with 50s nostalgia. It's doo wop sound translated into the language of Beach House, and they do it ever so elegantly. This album is artfully crafted, poignant, and again, simple, but some of the best artists shine brightest under only one light.
And be sure to check out our exclusive, old-school concert with Beach House below.