Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Album review - Beach House 'Teen Dream'

Beach House
‘Teen Dream’
(Sub Pop)
TEEN DREAM, the third album by quirky duo Beach House - French-born Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally - is a bizarrely titled one, given that it is in fact the album that sees the ‘dream-pop’ duo mature and graduate after two earlier offerings, which were both bursting with potential, but failed to make much in the way of an impact on these shores.
A woozy, atmospheric album that screams of diverse influences, but retains a unique feel, Teen Dream is, however, an early contender for ‘Best Of’ lists, just three weeks into the year.
An eclectic duo that like to experiment with spacey rhythms and haunting lyrics, Beach House have produced an immensely engaging and affecting album that will remain with you long after you hear it.
Containing the 2008 single Used to Be - which forms a strong central core of songs along with the superb Matter of Time and Lover of Mine - Teen Dream has been much anticipated among fans, who include Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear, for whom Legrand guested on the song Two Weeks on their excellent Veckatimest.
The gloriously uplifting Used to Be is a shiny, shimmering slice of gentle baroque-pop, a Brian Wilson meets Galaxy 500 offering that sees Legrand lay her soul and voice bare, her bare vocal quivering at the top of the melody’s height.
But Beach House have changed direction from their earlier offerings, which were a little too woozy and too opaque for these ears - Legrand, in particular, grabs the mic with both hands and clearly demonstrates her impressive vocal talents.
Opener Zebra is an undulating delight, a gentle yet throbbing beat propelling the song, while new single Norway - previously available as a free download - still retains its punch on the record and is the highlight of the album, deliciously diverse, boasting off-kilter melodies and Legrand’s breathy vocals.
Epic final song Take Care is impressive in its scope, a further example of the duo reaching heights others can only dream of.

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