Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beach House - "Bloom"

Baltimore-based duo Beach House return with the Sub Pop release of Bloom their fourth album and follow up to their excellent 2010 album Teen Dream.  Without drastically changing their atmospheric synth-driven sound, Alex and Victoria have created another near perfect album of hazy, layered dream-pop that tugs at your emotions and feeling of nostalgia to great effect.  Victoria's shape-shifting voice is an instrument itself; at once light, breathy and haunting, then deeper and fuller, perfectly aligning with Alex's textured soundscapes note for note.  And together they better capture the nuanced vintage glow that Lana Del Rey tried to create on her debut.

The album (as it was intended to be listened to as) opens with "Myth" and its trance-inducing cyclical melodies.  The moody, nostalgia-laced "Wild" features a gloriously cheesy Casio keyboard drum beat and soaring guitars.  The 80's-indebted first single "Lazuli" follows with an infectious ascending keyboard melody and gorgeous, lilting vocals.  Another standout track, the midtempo "Other People" features shimmering guitars and sounds like Mazzy Star if only they were a surf rock band.  "The Hours" is built on layers of thick organ and a clicking beat with Victoria's vocals floating above the haze.  "Troublemaker" is both ethereal with haunted house organ and sunny with a poppy chorus.  The hypnotic guitars and wall of synths of "New Year" make for the album's most dense and lushly arranged moment.  The ten track album closes with "Irene", where Victoria sings, "It's a strange paradise" and that pretty much sums it up...Bloom is a beautiful album that you won't mind getting lost in.

For more info: http://www.beachhousebaltimore.com/ and http://www.subpop.com/


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