Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beach House, "Teen Dream"

(Sub Pop) Woozy, bluesy and bruised, Maryland duo Beach House conjures a dreamy romanticism akin to the melancholy mood of classic Spiritualized and movie “The Virgin Suicides.” Maudlin organ melodies drift over purposefully stiff drum machine beats, only adding to the stark atmosphere. This is Beach House’s third album, and they display a subtle new arsenal of sonic abilities. Opening song “Zebra” features Alex Scally on vocals, his mannered, British-sounding enunciation giving the song an almost Coldplay feel. But it’s the rich, soaring voice of Victoria Legrand that powers “Teen Dream.” Her, raw, husky delivery is a welcome relief from the usual ethereal whispers far too many acts fall back on in similar situations. Beach House also reveals the ability to craft a killer modern pop song in “Norway.” Thick with swirling synthesizer strings and Legrand’s lush vocals, it’s an obvious standout track from a cohesive album that’s full of sweet little surprises.

(Originally published on Shockhound.com