Beach House: 7
Across their first six LPs, Beach House sculpted their own sonic universe from distinct, granular details. The instrumentation (the sparse drum machines, the airy organs, the smoldering tone of vocalist Victoria Legrand) and the production (reverb, more reverb) are arguably more crucial than the songwriting. And as musicians, that’s a tricky place to be. If you fail to evolve, then you’ll lose people’s interest, and if you evolve too much, then you’ll lose the qualities that made you you . So with 7 , as usual, we comb through the dream-pop haze in search of new tics and new tonal colors, and evaluate the painting based on the small brush strokes. (Is the hi-hat pattern on “x” the exact same as “y”? What kind of effects pedal is Alex Scally using on that slide-guitar riff? Wait, is that a bass guitar?) The duo’s latest strikes an always-comforting balance of old and new. In the former camp, you have “Lemon Glow,” with Legrand’s voice billowing through an alluring cloud of decayed guitar notes and synth pulses. In the latter, there’s “L’Inconnue,” an atmospheric swell of French choral voices, churning orchestral keys and harmonized electric guitars à la Ratatat (via Queen’s Brian May). No, there isn’t a single classic Beach House song here—a single melody that floods the imagination the way “Norway,” “Zebra” or “Wild” did in the band’s breakthrough era. But 7 is a grower, and we owe Beach House enough of our patience to flesh out these miniature moments of wonder.