Bloom by Beach House, Sub Pop / Bella Union, 2012.
Beach House is comprised of Baltimore musicians Alex Scally (instrumentation) and Victoria Legrand (vocals). The band formed in 2005 and produced their first self titled album in 2006. Their lush and melodic sound instantly won over critics, who compared them to Mazzy Star, Galaxie 500, and the Cocteau Twins. Since their debut, they have produced three more albums, Devotion (released 2008), Teen Dream (released 2010), and Bloom (released May 2012). With each release, they have won a greater acclaim and a larger fan base.
So much music today seems written to produce hit singles. As a result, albums can feel disjointed and unsatisfying, even though those singles are expertly crafted and performed. What I like about Beach House’s Bloom is that it feels conceptualized as an album, with great songs that connect musically and thematically. Listening from beginning to end brings so much pleasure than hearing just one of their perfectly polished dream pop songs.
It’s amazing how two people can create such a big, lush sound but Scally and Legrand manage to do just that. Legrands’s vocals are beautiful and haunting, reminiscent of the Cocteau Twin’s Elizabeth Fraser. The arrangements by Scally manage to be both melodic, catchy, and in songs like “Lazuli” almost anthemic. One can easily imagine a stadium filled crowd singing along to the repeated phrase, “”Like no other you can’t be replaced”.
For a summer release, the tone of the album feels dreamy, nostalgic, and somber. The songwriters recall memories of lost youth and often their sentiments are touched with sadness and drama, as in the song “Wild”.
“My mother said to me that I would get in trouble
Our father won’t come home, cause he is seeing double
Our windy, endless spring
Your eyes are so misleading
That’s when your car pulls up
Its hood is black and gleaming”
The music and lyrics are perfectly matched to create one of the year’s most haunting and catchy albums.
Bloom builds upon the beautiful vocals and arrangements that Beach House created in their popular release, Teen Dream. The songwriting and production create a dreamy and captivating album where every song connects and builds upon each other.
Why did I include this title?
I have been a fan of Beach House since I purchased Teen Dream back in 2010. Bloom has been my soundtrack this summer and the album becomes more interesting and enjoyable the more I listen to it.