Photograph by Jason Nocito

Photograph by Jason Nocito

I was certain I wanted to be a firefighter while growing up. The conviction never materialized, yet the gleam of red fire engines, the whirr of sirens, and Dalmatians delighted me to no end. Despite an acute fear of fire alarms, misinterpretation of complex escape routes, and general dislike for flames– the dream lived on. Daily tasks became romanticized adventures, watering the flowers became extinguishing a dangerous blaze, tree houses were burning high-rises, and each kitten I encountered was in dire need of rescue. Lack of expertise and knowledge was supplemented by a passionate fervour. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally render this lush reminiscence and embrace childhood dreaminess on their latest record. On January 26, the duo also known as Beach House released their third LP titled Teen Dream on Sub Pop.

Following Devotion, the pair has developed stylistically shaking off prior inhibitions and settling on a comfortable withdrawal. The record is their most accessible effort, yet demands an appreciation that is fostered over several spins juxtaposed with Victoria’s haunting words. Beach House flourishes on the opening track ‘Zebra’ with the infectious chant, “Any way you run, you run before us, black and white horse arching among us.” The album approaches simplicity in reverse, synthesizers and snares melt together as each successive play reworks preceding complexity. The effect sounds effortless and hypnotic. Less than three tracks into Teen Dream the familiar swelling hymns of ‘Norway’ leave listeners afloat in youthful idealism. Awash in delicate melodies, the Baltimore duo makes it easy to dream, so much so that reverie is not forfeited on practical circumstances but rather blossoms within castles in the sky.

Teen Dream inspires an adolescent yearning on tracks like ‘Lover of Mine’ falling fittingly into the backseat of your car hidden amongst make-out mixtapes. The record spellbinds in the way you looked at the volleyball team donning knee-high socks and neon gym shorts, it teases like the notes passed between lectures, concealing a subtle sentiment in graceless growth. It beckons the gentle beauty of revisiting rather than heedlessly exploring. Beach House’s brand of dream pop is a sympathetic progression in sound, the fondness of their previous records held dearly at heart tangled with a new patience and understanding. The record has a dynamic flow of droning whispers and playfully plucked chords as it sweeps away static lulls. Beach House may take you to unexpected places, but the trip is far more enjoyable with eyes closed – it leaves more to the imagination.

Beach House – Zebra
Beach House – Norway
Beach House – Lover of Mine


— , February 15, 2010    3 Comments

looooooooooving this record

— Kyle, February 22, 2010

What’s a ‘record’?

— BlogFiend, February 25, 2010

Recently added to the Toronto Island Concert. It just keeps getting better.

Kevin Kania, February 26, 2010