Album number five from Baltimore Dream Pop duo Beach House is another impressive achievement. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have been keen to point out that Depression Cherry is an evolution out of step with the commercial success and larger stages they have been lavished with following previous releases. While these newest songs sound more insular and less triumphant than the astonishing material found on Bloom in 2012, I'd argue that this darker iteration of Beach House is just as compelling.
If there's a comparison to be made it's most obviously with My Bloody Valentine. It's not just that Depression Cherry's stark maroon cover brings to mind a soured version of the red rose coloured artwork from Loveless. Rather the vocal loops and programmed occasionally industrial sounding drums bring to mind Kevin Shields unique brand of Noise Pop. Yes, Beach House present a more sedate version of MBV's visceral legacy, but they're certainly distant cousins.
The moment that brought the comparison to mind was the opening bars of the deceptively complicated and arrestingly noisy 'Sparks'. A distorted echoing vocal sample of Legrand singing the repeated refrain "slow and patient life" (recorded on an iphone during a sound check in Bristol) forms the backbone of the track. The sample is ever present, phasing in and out behind melodies that wash over it. The real attention grabbing moment comes seconds later though when Scally's jarring guitar breaks the mantra as the track explodes into life with keyboards and drums weaving a tapestry of noise under an ethereal lead vocal that references a teenage awakening of sorts. The swirling noise builds to a joyous conclusion as Legrand declares "make it, wave it, alive". With something that sounds this compelling its no surprise it was chosen as the album's lead single.
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