BEACH HOUSE – ” Teen Dream “

Posted: July 29, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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The Baltimore duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally had established themselves as effortlessly sublime dream-pop adepts by the time of their third album, but they hadn’t yet embraced the production values that might convince people who weren’t reading mp3 blogs. Teen Dream, Beach House’s Sub Pop debut, was the sound of a band going for broke at that exciting moment before they know what they’re really capable of achieving. Recording in a converted church with producer/engineer Chris Coady, whose credits span Amen Dunes to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the pair demonstrated a rare balance of preaching to the choir and pulling in new converts. The spidery guitar lines, dimly lit organ tones, and sparse drum machines remain.

But there’s also much more attempted: crystalline Fleetwood Mac–style harmonies, shoegaze-teetering crescendos, even kitchen-sink piano balladry. Each of the 10 songs could’ve been a single, and the physical edition’s accompanying DVD offers pleasantly warped videos for all of them. It was still dream pop, all right, right down to the “Twin Peaks”-echoing lyrical hook of the bleakly glamorous “Silver Soul.” But it was dream pop that could entice Jay-Z and Beyoncé out to a gig. Beach House have a well-earned reputation for not changing much, but on Teen Dream, they came into their own, and ushered the languid reveries of Galaxie 500, Mazzy Star, and Cocteau Twins into the current Instagram decade.

Beach House’s bleary-eyed dream pop is a soothing after-sun for the mind. The cymbals crash like waves on a deserted beach in late-summer, when the shadows are longer, the air is cooler and the carefree excitement of the previous months is replaced with a sedated satisfaction. Victoria Legrand’s contralto voice feels more shadowy than anything peak season would have allowed, whilst Alex Scally provides the flickers of brilliance that keep the whole record warm and alight, like a campfire under the starry skies.

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