The deep, reverberating layered expanse of sound that characterises Beach Houses' self-titled debut is huge in both scope and stature. On first listen, you assume that this is surely the work of an umpteen-piece, multi-instrumental band that have been locked away in basements together for an unhealthy amount of their youth- the fact that this outfit is in fact a two-piece boy/girl combo less than two years old is certainly puts the kybosh on that idea. Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand are the duo in question who make up Beach House, with nine songs making up their first release for label Bella Union.
A sedate pace is maintained throughout, with the rhymical loops clearly intended to play second-fiddle to Legrands emotive vocals and the atmospherics conjured by guitar, piano and organ. There is an intimate mood of melancholy throughout, as evidenced by the hauntingly beautiful opener "Saltwater", a swirl of mildly-euphoric melodies cut with a darker undercurrent.
There appears to be a noticeable classic shoe gazing-influence to some of the tracks. "Tokyo Witch" is full of Cocteau Twins-esque vocal inflictions while "apple orchard" is a layered wall of bliss that recalls Just For a Day-era Slowdive. We are treated to a cinematic waltz for the lilting "auburn and ebony", while the album finishes on the heady ambient swell of "Heart and Lungs".
The complete lack of any change in tempo, and the melancholy, lovelorn nature of every song on Beach House's debut will certainly put off potential listeners who are maybe hoping for something a little more varied or urgent. The lack of variety on the album is to be celebrated though; by realising their strengths lie in slow, emotional ambiance Beach House have made an incredibly warm and human record that is a pleasure to listen to.
Beach House inhibit a world of perpetual autumn; everything appears as in sepia and all the rides are closed until next summer. It's a world worth passing through for a listen.