Beach House – Depression Cherry Review

Baltimore’s Dream Pop master duo in Beach House have just released their fifth studio album Depression Cherry and the name really encapsulates the rich yet fading sounds they produce and it seems a likelihood that they will do the same again here. The days when their music was pushing the boundaries was back in 2010 and since then they have maintained a steady course on the same path. Their sound is not one that should be faulted by any means, it is just the fact they’ve struggled to move on from it or have become tied down to it and so it will be intriguing to see which direction they move in now.

‘Sparks’ is a single that develops the sounds featured on their 2012 album Bloom. The washed out and faded vocals of Victoria Legrand are torn through by a shredding guitar riff before embarking on the awkwardly meandering rhythms of the warping organs. This rhythm is then met with the highly wistful and echoed vocals with the occasional shred of a riff leading the song on and in general the more noticeable electronic injection the song has had is a little more welcome. They are masters of the Dream Pop genre and just demonstrate it here. ‘Beyond Love’ opens in a more minimised fashion with the simple, warped organs accentuated by the ringing lead guitar parts and as the whirring sounds build around it, a sort of tragic and sombre harmony develops from Victoria’s vocals. They remain wistful and optimistic in tone, but their echoed and faded filter replace it with a more hopeless and lonesome feel. The emotive feel that is generated from this simple alteration is very noticeable and clever on their part. Tracks such as ’10:37′ work in a similar fashion with the vocal instrumentation adding to the lucidity of the track amongst all of the faded elements.

‘Wildflower’ features those warped organs again as they’re joined by a drum sample and airy riff in what is almost a Dream Pop take on a late Marvin Gaye track. Those vocal sweeps are something that you never tire of even if the warping organs are. The album opener ‘Levitation’ is a little more typical with more chiming electronica working from a warped and whirring foundation, but despite this the subtle fruition of the songs sounds at it’s peak has an element of delicate awe and power to it. ‘Space Song’ is very similar to ‘Wildflower’ with it’s structure with a more prominent bass within it and a more isolated, pop-like vocal for this swooning ballad. This ballad style is taken to an almost church-like level with the closing track ‘Days of Candy’. The album remains a beautiful creation and sees Beach House as graceful and sonically fluid as ever, but this album is only half a step on from their previous work and it doesn’t have enough to be one of the great albums of the year when they really have the potential to make such an album. It is album for a specific mood. If you’re feeling reflective or heartbroken then this is the album for you, but there isn’t much engagement beyond that.

Beach House – Depression Cherry = 8/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

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