Beach House – Bloom

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Let’s face it, there’s no one out there crafting music just like Beach House.  That is, except Beach House.  Seems redundant doesn’t it? Well, if you’re looking for a fault on the band’s fourth LP, then it might be that the group seems a bit cornered on Bloom.  While the music itself is beautifully emotional, it’s not too far from where they left off with Teen Dream; that’s going to appease hordes of folks, but it might also leave some detractors this go round.

Beach House has a knack of opening an album with brilliance, much like they do here with “Myth.” That twinkling keyboard line complimented by the lofty vocals of Victoria Legrand demonstrate that the duo will continue to find themselves atop year-lists, with few songs capturing the eloquent pop of this track.  When the group takes a slight turn near the 2 minute mark it’s clear to any listener that few songs can eclipse this one.  Bloom is filled with similar moments like this opener, but it’s hard to top your first impression of this listening experience.

“Lazuli” seems to have a bit more sparkle to its construction, which enables the track to stand out from many others on the record.  There’s an underlying quality of brightness to this track that’s not always present with regards to the wistful quality of Legrand.  You get the feeling that she pushed herself here in the studio, and it pays off huge dividends…these are the moments you long for from a group with such a distinctive sound.  Other moments such as this one exist on the record, and Bloom succeeds due to their presence.  “The Hours” is the shortest of the tracks on the record, and its brevity definitely is filled by the group pushing for a slightly different sound, be it the vocals or the guitar work.  And near the end, “On The Sea” gives us a completely different side of Beach House, using a less electronic side of the keyboard.  Really it’s Victoria who steals the show, and while there’s still that element of smoky fuzz in her voice, you’ll also notice a songstress giving the recording of a lifetime (in my opinion).

You see, Bloom has absolutely fantastic elements sprinkled here and there for the listener, so be sure to listen to the record through and through.  However, other tracks do find the group in some middling territory, seemingly unable to escape the remarkably distinct sounds they’ve created in the past few years.  Those moments were beautiful, but at times they do come across as a bit of audio overkill. Beach House is growing here, showing glimpses of new dynamics in their songwriting; they just haven’t completely distanced themselves from Teen Dream.  For some, that’s exactly what you’re looking for this go round; others, like myself, love it, but can’t wait to see where the group takes us on the next go round.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/01-Myth.mp3]

Download:Beach House – Myth [MP3]

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