Beach House - Bloom (Bella Union)

Known for their brittle sound packed with underlying emotions, Bloom, the follow up to 2010’s Teen Dream, continues Beach House’s tentative approach to creating music that’s equally welcoming and agoraphobic.

Released May 17th, 2012 via Bella Union / By Jack Richardson
Beach House - Bloom (Bella Union) Experienced as a whole, Bloom is a journey into the multifarious aspects of existence. Their dense, layered songs retain a sense of clarity that centralises the gentle vocals whilst creating a fuzzy sphere of accompaniment that floats around in sympathy. Without ever driving towards a climax, Beach House manage to re-appropriate their use of layers to create subtle but effective hikes in emotion that ensnare your attention momentarily before dropping to an equally encapsulating lull.

It’s not all “lovely and wishy-washy”, however. At times a more menacing light is thrown on the songs by the lyrics, which suggest a sober view of life and death. The start of ‘Wild’ calmly informs us that “my mother said to me that I would get in trouble; our father wont come home ‘cos he is seeing double”, whilst the ambiguous lyrics at the start of ‘Troublemaker’ – beginning “we will banish it together; the wall’s and shaking in their skin” before leading to a chorus of “some day out of the blue it will find you; always, always a face to remind you” – are sung with indifference over the beautiful languid guitar work of Alex Scally, juxtaposing the content completely. ‘On The Sea’ talks in equally calm terms about forgiveness and the imminentness of death with “out on the sea we’d be forgiven. Our bodies starved, the spirit leaving”.

Whilst these feel like only the tip of an iceberg, as singer Victoria Legrand’s voice becomes at times undeterminable, it could not be said that this is just an album of dichotomous intent. But such a style is the one Beach House suit so well: equally melancholy and optimistic, their sound is perfectly suited for providing either a bizarre revelry within negative feelings or a lugubrious descent within a positive setting. A quick listen to songs from previous albums, such as ‘Apple House’ off of their self-titled first release, ‘Turtle Island’ and ‘Heart Of Chambers’ of off Devotion, and ‘Zebra’ off of Teen Dreams, provide perfect examples of this. Beach House’s incredible ability to make a sad person happy, whilst making a happy person sad, is perhaps what suits them best. Once you break through the flawless coating, Beach House offer far more than aerated Lo-Fi pop. They offer a surreal escape from the world around us by calmly assessing it from a distance for what it is.