Beach House

Depression Cherry

Written by: MIN on 12/11/2015 16:22:00

Over the last few albums, Beach House from Baltimore, Maryland, has garnered a huge following within the dream-pop genre and even beyond that. They initially received a lot of attention with their critically acclaimed breakthrough album from 2010, “Teen Dream”, and have since expanded and experimented with their sound little by little. On the follow-up to that record, 2012’s “Bloom”, they went into a more pop-oriented field, and on this, their newest album “Depression Cherry”, they’re once again changing. Just like their breakthrough, this one has a lot more meat on the bones than the disappointing “Bloom”, and this time around, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally takes you by the hand and leads you into their velvety bedroom where everything from fuzzy guitars to sweet 80s keyboard-effects dwell.

The album is off to a good start on the first half: “Levitation” slowly launches you into space as Legrand hazily sings: “There’s a place I want to take you // when the unknown will surround you”, almost sounding like a sibling to Lana Del Rey. The second track, “Sparks”, kicks things into gear with its shoegazey effects rotating in the back while a distorted guitar lead roars above and heavy keys pound through your ears. As the song gets louder towards its final notes, it ultimately ends with a screeching guitar, which, on the next cut, “Space Song”, is replaced with a soft melody, an irresistible keyboard-lead and bouncing but subtle basslines.

Unfortunately, the album doesn’t keep this high quality, and it tends to be too slow and dull every now and then. Not necessarily because there are any really bad songs, but because some of them just sound too similar in comparison to the standouts already mentioned. Each song is built around a melody or a key-element – everything else that might happen during the song revolves around that one thing. Most of the time (like on “PPP”, where the guitar’s soft melody is what sets the pace) this works really well, but sometimes (“Wildflower” being a good example) the area just sounds too familiar and it feels like the band is playing it too safe. And once you get to the record’s last song, you feel a bit drowsy.

Luckily, the album really has a knack of showing off just how versatile Alex Scally is on guitar, as he excels in playing everything from fuzzy and swirling shoegaze in the style of My Bloody Valentine to more atmospheric and hypnotizing picking with the occasional taste of sugary pop often reminiscent of Cocteau Twins. Beach House have always built their music around Scally's guitar-skills and their keyboards, and it’s nice to hear he’s still got it. Furthermore, the production of the album – co-produced by Scally and Legrand themselves – is deep and embracing. You feel that although every detail has its own place, all of them still come together really well.

The album won’t top “Teen Dream” as Beach House’s best, but luckily, it doesn’t have to. It’s still great within its own merits – and different from the band’s previous efforts. Sometimes, the melodies are as sweet as the soundtracks of your favorite childhood-movies; at other times, they remind you of something from David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks”. And even though they occasionally sound alike, they make a great cohesion throughout. Thus, the lows of “Depression Cherry” actually provide some of the diversity that makes it work the best.


Download: Sparks, Space Song, PPP
For The Fans Of: Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Lana Del Rey

Release date 28.08.2015
Sub Pop, Bella Union, Mistletone

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