There are very few artists I come back to more than Beach House. Like other veteran indie artists the National and Spoon, the Baltimore duo’s output is so consistently great and essentially timeless in nature that its perfect to return to when the mood strikes.
That mood? Beach House is the perfect music when you are feeling sad, nostalgic, or just a moment of quiet joy. I find myself listening to their dream pop in tearful moments: whether that’s sadness or joy. They are just one of those bands that their music works as a landmark for many important memories. There’s not a lot of bands that can time-stamp your life like that, but Beach House’s music holds this extraordinary quality. It makes emotions sharper; deeper.
The band’s fifth and latest record, Depression Cherry, lands more on the gloomy spectrum of the band’s joy to sadness scale: darkening, blurring, and distorting their dreamy sound for a deeper take on sadness.
The album opener, “Levitation”, does exactly what the song promises: it just takes off. It builds melody on melody before reaching its cathartic exhale, a template many Beach House songs follow. Vocalist Victoria Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally have a way of slowly and carefully building the momentum of their songs to these big climactic refrains. “PPP” similarly builds on an arpeggiated guitar melody and a girl group-like vocal until it drops the vocal and lets the big sweeping guitar melody do all the talking: the sound of swimming in a sea of rainbows. Their ability to play with dynamics and build on songs like closer “Days of Candy” is not too dissimilar to post-rock giants like Sigur Ros or even a classical composer: slowly and slowly building to the big satisfying conclusion.
Lead single “Sparks” marks the biggest departure for Beach House from their signature sound, but it still keeps to the tenets of their music. Opening with the cry of a shrieking shoegaze guitar which is then leveled out by a deep floor of synthesizers, “Sparks” explores the range of frequency in a way that sharpens your senses. It sounds like Beach House’s best impression of My Bloody Valentine, especially with Legrand’s blissful and blurred vocal. “Space Song” also extends their sound into more clearly artificial territory, with the bubbling metal synth that fills the air: it’s the brightest turn on Depression Cherry.
At just nine songs, Depression Cherry is all meat and little excess. It does lack an instant classic like Teen Dream’s “Take Care”, “Norway” and “Used to Be”, Devotion’s “You Came to Me”, and Bloom’s “Myth”. But still, Depression Cherry is built to be for you in your moments of greatest joy and sadness.
Can’t Miss: “Sparks”, “PPP”, “Bluebird”
Can’t Hit: None