Beach House – 7
Beach House make pop songs. If you heard Victoria Legrand’s melodies without the dreamy, hazy embellishments typical of the Baltimore duo, they’d still stand up. This equal parts embracement and subversion of the pop form is what makes them so alluring, and it’s as refined as ever on their seventh album.
Both Legrand’s melodies and the dense sonic scapes her and Alex Scally cook up on 7 are among their best yet. Tracks like ‘Girl Of The Year’ and ‘Lemon Glow’ stand up as some of the best songs the duo have given us across their 12-year career. Songs that could serve as a fair introduction to the band, despite the hefty body of work that has come before.
Then there are the more esoteric moments, like the pulsing, semi-choral ‘L’Inconnue’ and the stunning, seven-minute long closing track ‘Last Ride’, which see the band continue to push themselves into interesting new territories in terms of sounds and arrangements.
The album is beautifully constructed too. The way the pacey ‘Dark Spring’ gives way to the downbeat, sluggish beauty of ‘Pay No Mind’ is a masterstroke. If you get to the end of the first song – and you should – there’s no way you’re not sticking around for its follow up.
While there’s a darkness permeating through the record, as is so frequently the band’s wont, it’s not all bleak. The sunny psych-pop of ‘Lose Your Smile’ adds a little brightness towards the end of the record, while ‘Woo’ is so sweet it verges on cheery.
Given this is the duo’s first record in a decade without producer Chris Choady onboard, one might imagine 7 to be something of a departure. The truth is, it’s not a huge leap for Beach House, but thanks to the sheer quality of its songs, it feels like a progression nonetheless.
Beach House have offered us a dense, bleak pop record, ready for you to sink your teeth into across the coming winter months.