Music Review: Beach House ‘Teen Dream’

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Beach House – ‘Teen Dream’ (Sub Pop)

I’d heard the positive murmurings surrounding Beach House, but I confess, I hadn’t investigated until now. Wow my bad – time wasted! And for those of you who dig subtle yet stirring melodies that are brought to life by husky and soft female vocals, ‘Teen Dream’ may well be one of your choice albums of the year so far.

This is the third album (released in January 2010 courtesy of Sub Pop) by Baltimore residents, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. The duo have explored the harmonization of Legrand’s vocals (reminiscent of Stevie Nicks) and core keyboard riffs with Scally on the guitar since 2006.

‘Teen Dream’ is ten dreamy, transcendent tracks, each as beautiful as the last and all of which are filled with often cryptic meanings – the album opens with the thumping ‘Zebra’, and me thinks Legrand is not just singing about black and white horses.

A few standout tracks deserve a special mention. In ‘Norway’, Legrand pushes her vocal capacity with fantastic results – you’ll find yourself singing out ‘Norwaaaaaaaaaaay’ in an imitation of her soft and husky cry.

‘Walk in the Park’ catches your attention and holds it for the full 5.26 minutes, rising to an ever so soft and beautiful climax in the last minute. The lyrics are simple, yet they tell a story that pangs the heart. And that’s a feeling that comes through in this album, with its hints of loneliness and confusion. However, these undertones are subtle and do not make the album overly melancholic – it’s more like heartbreak is wistfully acknowledged, and Legrand and Scally are reminding us that beauty takes many forms in life, as it does in their art. This ‘feeling’ is most noticeable in the more sombre tracks like ‘Better Times’ and ‘Take Care’ (which are also awesome – I especially like ‘Take Care’, as Scally gets a chance to shine on the guitar).

Beach House are currently on an extensive tour of the Northern hemisphere until the end of the year, so fingers crossed they swing our way after that. Until then, I’m off to explore the back catalogue. Enjoy!

Jessi Whitby, 2 June 2010

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One Response to “Music Review: Beach House ‘Teen Dream’”

  1. ben Says:

    I was completely gob smacked by this album. the opening track set’s an immediate tone that soothes me to the bone. it’s a whole album experience. i’ve passed these guys on to a lot of people, normally by showing them zebra, every single person has come back the next day with the same response, holy shitbags this is brilliant. and it is. i’ve been addicted for about 2 months now, which is a long time in my music world.

    damn it, im putting it on now.

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