Indie pop duo Beach House surprises with second album of year

Indie pop due Beach House -- composed of vocalist and organist Victoria Legrand and guitarist and keyboardist Alex Scally -- released its newest album "Thank Your Lucky Stars" on Oct. 16 Paulo Dourado via Wikimedia Commons

Beach House released its new album, “Thank Your Lucky Stars” on Oct. 16. The announcement of this newest album came just weeks before its release and surprised the music community. Beach House, a duo from Baltimore consisting of vocalist and organist Victoria Legrand and guitarist and keyboardist Alex Scally, has been making dreamy indie pop for years.  Legrand’s soft, airy alto voice blends perfectly with an assortment of synths, drum beats and guitar tones present on every release. They are not the type of artists that would have the audacity to drop an album completely by surprise, but a majority of fans would not be disappointed if that were to happen.

The album arrived hot on the heals of the release of “Depression Cherry” — the same group’s first album since “Bloom” (2012) — released this past August. The long wait leading up to the release of “Depression Cherry” made fan expectations for the album high.  As the title suggests, that album contained songs with slower and more depressed tempos than one would expect from the band. The guitar from Scally is also moodier on “Depression Cherry” than on previous records. The dreamy escapades the group is well known for became even dreamier than usual. Nevertheless, it’s a solid record, and nobody was expecting more.

Most of the songs on the newest album follow a similar structure to that of “All Your Yeahs” — a simple track dominated by a synth melody and a few noticeable key changes. This isn’t a bad thing. These simple tracks promote a relatively happy atmosphere — happier, overall, than most of Beach House’s repertoire. The lyrics are certainly less remorseful than previous releases.

One of the best tracks off the album is a cliché poem of admiration entitled “She’s So Lovely.” The lyrics don’t necessarily describe how the subject is beautiful, because it —  a girl — is just beautiful by its very existence. The simple lyrics complement a beautifully woven canvas of melody and harmony created through an assortment of synth sounds, drum machine beats and moody guitar from Scally.

One of the biggest surprises off the album comes from the track “One Thing,” which differs from most Beach House tracks in its initial heaviness. The song starts off with the type of bluesy riff one might expect from bands like “The Black Keys” or “Alabama Shakes,” but that same riff also has a tone color that only Beach House can seem to pull off. The heaviness in “One Thing” helps define a dreamy landscape that is more familiar to the band’s fans. It’s a strong moment on the record.

All in all, the lively construction of melodies and counter-melodies in “Thank Your Lucky Stars” is akin to that of Beach House’s early releases. Frankly, however, the album is not as captivating as “Teen Dream”(2010), “Bloom” or the astoundingly recent “Depression Cherry.” Despite not being as thought-provoking or interesting as previous albums, it is a great easy-listen. The synthesizers are gorgeous and provide a relaxing atmosphere. This is perfect music for a casual get-together or a barbecue. It isn’t in-your-face or aggressive in any way. Your grandmother will love it and so will your neighbors.

Beach House performs next March at the House of Blues. Tickets are almost sold out, however, so buy them now if you’re interested in seeing these masters of dream pop live.


Summary

While perhaps less interesting than previous works, "Thank Your Lucky Stars" gives credence to Beach House's reign in the indie pop scene.

3.5 stars
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