Album Review: Beach House Return With Immersive and Hypnotic Seventh Album

Album Reviews
05/11/2018
Jasmine Albertson

Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand are seven albums into their career making music under Beach House. That, alone, could be considered a feat, but to do so with barely a misstep or negative review proves that Scally and Legrand are masters of their craft. 7 is the lush new album from the duo, out today via Sub Pop. While not reinventing the wheel or stepping too far outside of the comfortable world the band has built for themselves over the past decade, the album sees the band at their darkest, heaviest, and most compelling.

Attempting to reinvent, Scally and Legrand parted ways with their longtime co-producer Chris Coady, who had produced every Beach House album since 2010’s Teen Dream, to work with Spacemen 3’s Peter Kember, aka Sonic Boom. To help speed up the process, the duo built a studio in their practice space, making it possible to record a song as soon as inspiration hit. Another major difference on the album was the addition of touring drummer James Barone in the album-making process, adding to the lushness of the record with the elimination of the band’s usual drum machines. 

With the stage reset, the band experiments with a number of different textures and ideas throughout the album. Shoegaze-y album-opener “Dark Spring” introduces us to 7’s dark, feverish world before quickly turning things all the way down for the sparse, sludgy “Pay No Mind.” Before getting too comfortable, the album’s dreamy lead single “Lemon Glow” turns things back up with an 808 beat. This variation continues and keeps the dynamic album engaging and immersive until settling into itself in the second half, ending with the spellbinding seven-minute closer "Last Ride.”

Many criticize Beach House about sounding the same on every album, but I prefer to call them consistent. While there are certain elements that will likely always remain constants for the entirety of their career, there’s good reason for that. There’s nothing wrong with finding your strengths, honing them, and then stretching them to their fullest while still remaining solidly in the particular world that you created and your fans love you for. That’s what Beach House have done here on 7. It's difficult to think of another band that has delivered so reliably for such a long time and they fully deserve credit for carving out space for themselves and being masters of their own hypnotic universe.

 

 

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