BEACH HOUSE – ” 7 ” Best Albums Of 2018

Posted: December 18, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , ,

Beach House, 7

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scully of Beach House described a new kind of freedom in the making of their seventh album. It seems they felt an unwelcome pressure writing and recording in the past, whether that was the constraints of a set studio schedule, or concerns with how their experimentation would translate live. With some adjustments to the creative process, the duo were more liberated this time and the results are stellar. That’s not to suggest they re-invented their sound along the way; in fact, they have stayed true to their particular brand of dream-pop, but you can hear confident strides toward mastering their craft.

As a music fan reared on ’90s-era British indie-rock (Cocteau Twins, Ride, My Bloody Valentine), Beach House have always had an immediate gravitational pull. Peter Kember from Spacemen 3, central to that era in the U.K., took a turn producing this album, and you can hear his fingerprints all over it. “Dive” is a good example, as the song builds from a drone-like church organ to a hard-charging anthem. The dynamics and range of feeling throughout this album are really special: intimate one moment and rolling thunder the next. It’s also a great album listen, which has become something of a lost art in these days of algorithms and streaming playlists. 

Over the past decade, Beach House has become synonymous with dream-pop. The duo has consistently written gorgeous music with a hypnotic, almost otherworldly quality that often defies conventional expectation and revels in risk-taking. But by definition, its sound has typically been a little more dream than pop. Album number seven for the Baltimore-based group flips that relationship, but only ever so slightly. And the result is perhaps the band’s finest recording to date. 7 is indeed a cover-to-cover listen. When consumed in one sitting, the record’s 11 songs will reward the complex palates of longtime fans. But Beach House have also created some truly great standalone tracks here. Songs like “Lemon Glow,” “Dark Spring” and “Dive” standout with their less-than-subtle hooks and a surprising drive. And this being Beach House, they get better with each listen.

You can either fear the unknown, or you can embrace it. Beach House has spent the last 13 years worshipping it, each new song and album a dance of devotion to an unnamable, immutable creative force. After following it down to its most elliptical and interior on 2015’s Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, where else was there for Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally to go but outward? 7, the dream-pop duo’s most collaborative and extroverted album yet, springs forth with an urgent and unpredictable energy. It plunges you into dense, interstellar shoegaze (“Dark Spring”), then grounds you in stargazing grunge balladry (“Pay No Mind”), before sending you on a mechanical 808 track through the woozy “candy-colored misery” of “Lemon Glow.” And those are just the first three songs. Breaking from a long partnership with producer Chris Coady, Legrand and Scally began assembling 7’s immersive arrangements in a new home studio before finishing them off with space-rock experimentalist Sonic Boom, a.k.a. Peter Kember of Spacemen 3. The shake-up paid off spectacularly. Together they’ve crafted a towering psych record that plays like a radio response to otherworld transmissions like My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless or This Mortal Coil’s It’ll End In TearsYou can try to drift off in its dark, dreamlike textures, but like those seminal albums, 7 will keep prodding you to witness its mysteries up close. It will keep asking you to search its layers, to savor each image flying by—to give yourself over to the moment. And by now Beach House has well-proven that, whatever the next moment holds, they’ll see you through it. This is a band you can trust with your life.

This Pay No Mind video is directed by our friend Michael Hirsch. We’ve been lucky to have friends join us on the road over the years. They’ve helped us stay sane through all the hard touring. Mike recorded this footage between 2015-2018, and it documents many live performances over that time. We like how it focuses on the audience, as they are the whole reason we go on tour. We also like that it shows some of the scuzzy reality of tour

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