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Beach House - Bloom

Beach House reside in that special corner of consciousness also inhabited by Sigur Ros. It’s the moment after you’ve gone to bed, before you fall asleep, when you are still awake but already beginning a dream. A lucid reality of pure relaxation. Sigur Ros have been doing it perfectly for years. Beach House had the ability, the potential to make an album full of this feeling. Norway was more heart rate raising than anything on this album, but it was their best offering yet.
I read the pitchfork review and their feeling was that Bloom was not a reflection of where the band is at now. I disagree, I think their previous work was solid without being spectacular. This album feels like a band reaching through the ground and the dirt and the nutrients and pushing through the earth in to the sun. They are blooming!

I don’t want to get in to the airy fairy crap that other people do when they review a record so lets just look at the music. Myth starts off with a cowbell I could’ve created in Fruity Loops, but then just explodes. All of a sudden you’re still here but you’re not anymore, you’re in this giant green field that Beach House have created exclusively for its listeners. Valium, Xanax, all manner of anti-anxiety medications are available in plentiful amounts. The smokey vocals Victoria Legrand don’t even need to be intelligible, it’s like this beautiful warm cloud descending over the field. However by the 40th listen which is where I’m up to you eventually break out of the perma-haze and start listening to the words.
What comes after this
Momentary bliss
The consequence
Of what you do to me
Could be a listener describing Victoria. Each track reads like a therapy session. On Wild, Victoria muses

My mother said to me that I would in trouble
Our father won’t come home, cause he is seeing double

Then she prescribes our medicine and all is right

A little wine, you stole a smile, the earth is wild, you’ve got no time
It’s all delivered with the ease and grace of an Egret wading through water. It’s perfection. The album just keeps prancing along through the heavens. Guitars come and go, church-like synths set the atmosphere for every track. The Hours see’s a rain-drop like synth appear halfway through, and you fall asleep for a second. Till Victoria repeats frightened eyes, and this track could very well be about anxiety.

Frigthened eyes, looking back at me, Change your mind, don’t care about me
But she reassures us that there’s no point worrying about all this, because
It’d deeper than you and me, It’s further than you could see, It’s too much to ask tell me, It’s all in a glance you’ll see.

Time is a constant theme, rather than just touching on it the band centre around it, coming back and refilling our cup every few minutes. The funny thing is that thsi fixation on time does not make us more aware of it. You can easily lose yourself for all 50 minutes and wake up at the end and wonder where it all went. As is with the perfect drug trip, time is just a number that can be thought about, poked at, explored, but never felt until the comedown.

The album continues to meandre along till the absolutely brilliant closer Irene. You’re transported on to an actual beach house as the opening synth washes over you, and the vocals descend slowly from the clouds on top of you until all of it combines, and you’re riding the crest all the way in to the bank. Halfway through the wave peters out, you slide gracefully back to your knees and await the next installment. The final ride is a cymbal bashing affair that feels like the up phase of a rollercoaster, but rather than flying back down the hill you just keep flying up it, faster and faster until you’re propelled back in to reality with the end of the album.

I don’t have enough of a way with words to be honest to do this album justice. When I first listened to it I knew it was something a little bit special. I liked previous Beach House releases but I wasn’t sold on them. Dream Pop for me was a bit of a wank that hipsters used to describe normal music they relaxed to, and I didn’t like that. But I think it was a natural progression, as electronic music became more prevalent in the late 90s up until its world domination today, that bands would keep evolving its sound until we got an album like this. If I were to compare it to anything I’d compare it amazingly to the latest Slugabed album, which was just pure electro. The first 4 tracks on Madonna’s Confessions on a Dancefloor left me with the same feeling. It’s this wonderful ability that electronic music has to very quickly create an atmosphere and an alternate reality and then transport you there and keep you there for an entire record. The big cymbals crashing at the end of Irene even give you the sense that you’ve achieved something during this listen, and that it’s all about to come to a stark end and you’ll be catapulted back in to real life. The beauty of it is, you just double click on Myth and you’re right back where you started.

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