Beach House have become masters in the art of musically representing fascination: against a backdrop of echoes and synthetic loops, we contemplate beauty, love, and disillusionment with them, while moving from reality to dream and from dream to reality. Then, that exhilarating feeling of having triumphed over something … without knowing what. Their eighth album–a double LP–is made up of these bewitching, sometimes ambiguous songs. Some are true to the band’s lo-fi roots, but many are rich in an atmosphere sustained by the very fitting addition of organic instrumentation.
As we wrote in our review of the album’s first chapter last November, Beach House had a strict songwriting framework, i.e. they had to exclude anything that couldn’t be reproduced live. However, the band dropped those restrictions when they created 7, released in 2018, allowing them to creatively explode. Since then, this shift has elevated the band’s sound to a whole new level.
A few excerpts from chapters two, three, and four: in addition to the echoes of voices as well as mind-blowing synth arpeggios and spirals, organic elements ignite several pieces including “Sunset”, where a string ensemble and acoustic guitar make us feel like we’re enjoying a warm evening with friends around a campfire. “ESP“ has the tenderness of a luminous prom ballad, full of angst and hope, as does the candy-pop retro “Finale.” We dance to “Masquerade,” with its dark, synthetic chords simulating cathedral bells, over a driving, heavy beat that reminds us at times of Depeche Mode. Then, on the final piece “Modern Love Stories”, the string ensemble majestically accompanies Legrand’s voice, and the piece ends with an acoustic guitar that evokes the emotion of a goodbye.
The almost hour and a half of listening passes by in no time.
Want to sing their songs at the top of your lungs? Beach House offers us beautiful clips with lyrics that scroll along with the songs: