Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Beach House - Teen Dream


Maryland's Beach House has progressed since the early days of the bands existence. Starting with the self-titled album in 2006, this was met to acclaim due to the modern day expenditure on artists such as Galaxie 500 and Slowdive. The Dream Pop sound is clearly evident and Beach House uses it to their advantage. Devotion was also met with acclaim due to the improved musicianship. Teen Dream follows on with the light Indie Pop and Dream Pop from the previous albums.

It's so simplistic, the synthesized organs, echoed vocals and lack of bass really give Beach House an iconic sound. This along with the fulfilled sound creates a new and different sound from the early eerie albums. The drum machine doesn't get in the way of listening; it just keeps the album in motion. It's simple and vintage giving that full sound.

The album opens with ‘Zebra’ starts with a guitar riff that kicks the whole album into position. It's a refined sound with great hooks and beautiful lyrics. Victoria's vocals portray many emotions, the dream like effect that the music produces, reacts incredibly well with Victoria's effortless vocals. The variations on this track are evident. The 'new' sound may divide your opinion at first, but with the defined sound and upbeat instrumentation, this album is a great improvement, in terms of direction and becoming separated from the comparisons. 

The soundscapes sound great... As with the previous album, the eerie, minimal, sparse sound shows great characterises within Beach Houses sound. ‘Silver Soul’ is much alike Zebra with a bigger and better structure. It's becoming clear that Beach House are expanding, the production work with Chris Coady seems to have really helped in magnifying the sound and refining the instruments.

Silver Soul leads into ‘Norway’ with some actual drumming and melancholy vocal work and layered guitar work which is enough to send you to sleep. The sound is so dark here; everything is working correctly together as it should be. The use of the tremolo is a great inclusion during the verse to give a more diverse sound throughout the song. It isn't as gripping as the song just isn't as strong as the previous few.

I'd say that Beach House have reached a new level of independence in their sound. ‘Walk In The Park’ and ‘Lover of Mine’ are great examples of the recurring organ which gives Beach House the Indie Pop sound which some listeners crave for. Even with ‘10 Mile Stereo’, we hear something different and new from the band, this is great seeing as it's the bands third album and they really did need to release an album with an improved sound, 10 Mile Stereo is a good example of this. It's an upbeat track and reaches new heights for Beach House in my view. The song reaches a climax towards the end; this is something we rarely hear for this band. 

‘Real Love’ just capitalizes on Victoria's emotive voice. The light drumming and lifting piano are a great backing for her to shine on this song. The Atmospheric ending is a standout for Real Love; it's nothing special, just a nice way to finish the track. In terms of content, the first half is by far the better of the two, songs on the second half are still good and individualistic, and they’re just not as strong as the earlier tracks.

As with Devotion, the listener receives a great deal of imagery. Touching on tracks like ‘Better Times’, where everything escalates into a full sound, with a tiring sound and multi tracked vocals. Beach House has exceeded my expectations with this album. The change to Sub Pop brought forward more funds in order to improve the band’s sound; this worked tremendously as we hear something worthy for end of year lists.
~Eddie
9.0

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