BEACH HOUSE – ” Once Twice Melody “

Posted: February 24, 2022 in MUSIC

Over the course of eight albums and over 15 years together, the Baltimore based dream pop duo Beach House has come to be associated with certain concepts. Mystery, the curious nature of love and existence, the idea that there’s a bit of life in even the littlest things—that’s the essence of what Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally create together. So when the two repeatedly describe their songs as entities with their own agency and mindsets in our conversation, it totally tracks. “Songs tell you what they want,” Legrand says at one point. “That song refused to be grown,” Scally says later as we’re discussing “Hurts to Love,” a highlight of Beach House’s eighth LP and first double album, “Once Twice Melody“.

The product of three years’ work, “Once Twice Melody” takes Beach House in more new directions than ever before and that’s a big deal given that, for close to a decade, the duo’s calling card was its consistency. Through the lo-fi crackle of 2008’s “Devotion“, the blue notes of 2010’s yearning “Teen Dream”, or the gleaming, sky-reaching sounds of 2012’s “Bloom“, you just knew you were hearing Beach House. Scally’s triplet guitar arpeggios, Legrand’s husky “oohs”and “aahs,” the steady whirr of bleary synths, lyrics that evoke feelings and, at their most concrete, loosely tell stories—these elements remained the core of Beach House for nearly a decade. 

2018’s “7 shifted things somewhat. It felt more indebted to the roaring side of shoegaze, whereas the duo’s previous music hewed closer to the side of the genre more focused on its transfixing qualities. On “Once Twice Melody“, the duo continues expanding its boundaries and delivers a towering collection whose diversity is largely the source of its excitement. Where “Hurts to Love” is the first Beach House song that might make you want to dance, “Masquerade” is a moon-streaked burst of arena-ready, industrial-flecked pop, and “Sunset” is a dusky acoustic ballad. The album’s 18 songs are a reminder of something Beach House devotees have always known: Scally and Legrand can conjure magic from melody in virtually any form.

Amid “Once Twice Melody’s” variations, Beach House remains rich in texture, overflowing with imagistic lyrics open to interpretation, and immersed in wonder and awe.

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