Has there ever been a genre description as perfect as “dream pop”? I submit that there has not.
Beach House, from the beach town (?) of Baltimore, Maryland, play a super mellow, hazy brand of pop music that couldn’t be dubbed anything outside of dreamy. Unfortunately for them, Bloom is their 4th release and it’s starting to get tired.
I was stoked for it, too, since their two previous albums Teen Dream and Devotion were so solid. But like yesterday with Sigur Rós’ Takk…, at what point does the same ole’ same ole’ become old hat?
I can’t knock on the instrumentation. No doubt, it’s there. Soft keyboards, beautiful vocals from singer Victoria Legrand, My Bloody Valentine-inspired guitar work, capable drums… the pieces of the puzzle are there. That can’t be argued.
But as with Jónsi and co., at what point is it time to step outside of what’s comfortable to reinvent your band? This is indie rock we’re talking about here. Neither of those bands are Metallica or Kiss or Coldplay, able to carry themselves on the same five radio songs played ad nauseum. So a change has to be in order at some point.
Don’t get me wrong. The opening three tracks are delightful. I just can’t help but use the word “underwhelming” again because nothing past them sticks out to me in such a way that I’d want to listen to them over and over again, if that’s any indication of where I stand on Bloom.
And for what it’s worth: I went and saw them live last year in Orlando. Got the poster and everything. Fantastic stage set-up: 5 separate towering, slatted panels, each backed by industrial fans with lights shone through. Something similar to this:
Combined with the house lights, the effect created an almost dream-like haze on stage. Super stuff.
But it sounded like the band got on stage and pressed play. All tracks. Yeah, they played live, but it so was “to the t” of the album that it was difficult to stay focused. I wouldn’t dare say they didn’t play with heart or soul because I’m sure it was. Maybe it just wasn’t the energy I was anticipating.
Good chill music, but my level of attachment with this album is pretty well non-existent.
From their 2012 release Bloom, this is Beach House’s “Troublemaker” –
Standout tracks: First three tracks (“Myth”, “Wild” and “Lazuli”) are on point…
Weakest track: …but the rest leaves some to be desired. Copy-paste, copy-paste.
RIYL: Dream pop. Washed Out, Toro y Moi, St. Vincent, Grizzly Bear.