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It is very hard to write a review of Beach House without including words like ethereal, dream, and methodical. Beach House has an established sound that has not changed dramatically over the course of their first four albums, and, therefore, it is equally difficult to write a review without lavishing words like “consistent”, “beautiful”, and “fantastic”. Even if they have not veered far from their tried-and-true formula, they continue to make extremely interesting and rewarding albums. The questions with Depression Cherry is, “Do they maintain that distinctive sound or do they push the envelope enough to keep things interesting?”

The early single “Sparks” hinted that there might be some changes. The driving guitar had a Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine edge pushing it from dream-pop into shoegaze, making it a great lead-off single and one of the more interesting tracks on the album. The rest of the album, however, returns to Beach House‘s roots, one that once again revolves around the fantastic dreamy voice of Victoria Legrand, a load of synths, and some nice guitar work by Alex Scally.

The album starts strong with “Levitation”, a slow burning song that has the classic staples of Beach House’s best work. The synths hold steadily throughout while Legrand’s voice elevates among the ensemble of electronics and instruments. After “Sparks”, there are two more fine tunes with “Space Song” and the impressive “Beyond Love”. Neither push new ground but both deliver that otherworldly feel that takes listeners to new places.

The middle and tail end starts to suffer a little for the sameness feeling. That sameness feeling is going to be hard to overcome for a band that is so true and devoted to their sound. Listeners now have heard this not only from Beach House but bands inspired by Beach House, thus making standouts difficult. Further complicating matters is that Beach House has four similar albums in their arsenal, so keeping the sound fresh is a challenge. Few bands are able to be so devoted to a sound and keep it deeply engaging.

Fortunately, the pacing of the album helps to overcome the muddled middle. The duo refocuses and delivers with later songs like “WildFlower”. It is the shortest and most melodic track on the album, but a stunning showcase of the band’s ability to take something familiar and make it sound refreshing and new. With a title like Depression Cherry, you know there is going to be some heavy tracks like “Blue Bird” – a sad tune about repressing love and arguably the album’s most endearing and honest track.

On first listen, Depression Cherry it is not quiet as strong as Teen Dream or as immediate as Bloom. Regardless, it is still a very good album from a band that knows their strengths and ambitions and plays to both. It would be interesting to see what would happen if they stayed down the path of Sparks” and pushed the borders a little further. For now, fans will surely be content by another beautify album of pure ethereal dream pop by the band that does it best.

Depression Cherry is out Friday via Sub Pop. Pre-order the album at the label’s online store, iTunes, and Amazon.

Website – www.beachhousebaltimore.com
Facebook – Beach House
Twitter – @BeaccchHoussse
Instagram – @beaccchhoussse

 

Beach House Tour Dates

  • Thu, Sep 17
    Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Mon, Sep 21
    Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Tue, Sep 22
    First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Wed, Sep 23
    First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Sat, Sep 26
    Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Sun, Sep 27
    Pageant, St Louis, MO (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Sun, Oct 4
    Ryman Audiotorium, Nashville, TN (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Wed, Oct 7
    Orange Peel, Asheville, NC (w/Jessica Pratt) Tickets
  • Sat, Oct 24
    Mandela Hall, Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Mon, Oct 26
    ABC, Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Tue, Oct 27
    Ritz, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Fri, Oct 30
    Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, United Kingdom
  • Mon, Nov 2
    Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Thu, Nov 12
    Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Fri, Nov 13
    Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Tue, Nov 17
    Freiheiz, Munchen, Germany
  • Wed, Nov 18
    Les Docks, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Fri, Nov 20
    Apolo, Barcelona, Spain
  • Mon, Nov 23
    Armazén, Lisbon, Portugal

 

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