No, the picture to the right isn’t a smartphone camera photo beneath some random marquee. It’s the cover art for Baltimore-based indie dream pop duo Beach House’s new album Bloom. Their new work is set to be released May 15, 2012 on Sub Pop.
To bring readers up to speed, the band Beach House consists of French-born Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally. They formed in 2004, with Scally playing guitar and keyboards, and Legrand on vocals and organ. “Since their 2006 self-titled debut, this duo has been churning out a consistent line of dreamy melodies, characterized by simple beats, blissful guitar lines, and [Legrand’s] vocals, which [can] only be described as a crossover of the soul of Robert Plant and the rasp of Janis Joplin (though not quite as raspy).”
Now, the band has released three albums, most recently 2010’s Teen Dream. That record “stands starkly opposed to its predecessors: forsaking the foggy insularity of lo-fidelity for a bold, bright, sharply-produced sound that makes for brilliant use of dynamics.The grand change in sound has coloured the aesthetic perception: the languorous, melting, opiate haze of past records summoned summer days thick with humidity, but, now, the stark, defined, crystalline palette sounds like night-time, with its high contrast between bright lights and whole blacks.” Pitchfork’s Stuart Berman wrote about the album, “Its billowy synth lines and sleigh-bell accents made it perfect winter listening. But the album made even more sense as the warm weather arrived– Teen Dream captures Beach House in the midst of a great thaw, the frosty surfaces melting away to reveal full-blooded passion.”
But that was so 2010. Beach House is releasing their fourth album next month. No doubt the band will try to push against the walls even more. Scally even admits it: “We started to grow really tired of the kind of sloppy or fast sound of lo-fi that we were so into in the beginning.” Stereogum concurs, “The move away from this atmosphere is in concert with a band striving to break new creative ground and work into more expansive, shiny tones.”
What’s interesting to note is that in Bloom, the band doesn’t get stray too far away from the dreamy atmospheric melody that made them famous in the first place. If anything, they’ve trimmed the music fat and kept only the most substantial parts that make their songs great.
The album might start off unfamiliar to devoted listeners, but it doesn’t completely deviate what people have come to like about them. In fact, Beach House carves their name even deeper into the trunk of the music scene that they undoubtedly own.
BeAcH HoUsE 4EveR