Finally, after a long, grueling winter in some parts of the world, summertime has come! The bright sun is, once again, a golden disc in the northern skies; whereas the sand in the beaches, sparkling gems. The season is calling out to those who have been looking forward for months to the time when they could have some sunny, outdoor fun with friends and feast with them with good food and great music.
So, Indie Popsters, bring out the boombox, and be ready to turn up the volume! What to play? How about the new album by Beach House? Is that not quite apt – the fun in the pun!
Formed in 2004, in Baltimore, Maryland, by Victoria Legend (vocals, keyboards) and Alex Scally (guitars, keyboards, and vocals), Beach House may have not yet been splashing in the central waves of the mainstream, but the duo have certainly been carving their sonic castles in the Indie Pop shore for quite some time now. After all, in a span of 14 years, Legend and Scally have already released seven studio albums, from 2006’s self-titled debut to the just-unleashed 7. If two full-lengths every couple of years is not a proof of prolificacy, especially in this era’s standards, then what is?
Released on Friday, May 11, 2018, on Sub Pop/Bella Union/Mistletone Records, Beach House’s latest offering is simply titled 7. Such a lucky number! It opens with the sparse and breezy Shoegaze/Dreampop mid-beat “Dark Spring.” The mood then turns slow and subtly Gothic with “Pay No Mind,” whose undulating guitar strums and overall vibes will remind the initiated of similarly contemplative songs like “The Funeral Party” by The Cure and The Essence’s “The Waves of Death.” The ensuing “Lemon Glow” then springs in with the same faint introspection, conjuring a quiet moment under the shades of palm trees on a late afternoon when the listener rather opts to just stare at the setting sun. And then there is the hypnotic, angelic march of “L’Inconnue,” taking the listener to a trek further into the hazy unknown; only to find oneself bathed in the afterglow of “Drunk in L.A.”
After that slew of calming tracks, “Dive” then builds up into a galloping wave of lush, synth-charged rhythm, only to pull the listener down again from the daydream as “Black Car” pulsates its slightly sinister chilly Trip-Hop sound. A dose of acoustic guitar on a backdrop of synthesizer-washed bed of half-given melodies then comes next in the form of “Lose Your Smile.”
“Woo” is a treat back to ’90s Dreampop, in the veins of Cocteau Twins (“Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops”), Lush (“Light from a Dead Star”), and Mazzy Star (“Fade into You”). Aptly, the somber sheen of the following “Girl of the Year” signifies the further nesting of the now-crimson summer sun into the softening sea waves. Finally, Beach House wraps up the relaxing day with the languid piano ballad “Last Ride.”
The lovely daydream has ended. Counting seven sheep is done. Time to close your eyes, this time for a real dreamy excursion into the slumber of the night. For, tomorrow is another day, to play 7 once again. CrypticRock gives Beach House’s latest offering 4 out of 5 stars.