Beach House – Bloom

Those worried that Beach House may risk following up the ten songs of blissful, heartrending perfection that was 2010′s Teen Dream with a lesser effort or foreign sound can return to kaleidoscopic slumbers. Beach House burst straight out of the gate on Bloom with the same bold maneuver they dropped on team Teen Dream: they come out swinging with one of the best songs of the year in “Myth.” The song, with its glimmering opening progression, sounds like an older kindred sister to Teen Dream‘s “Zebra,” which should be all the necessary reassurance for fans thoroughly enamored with the earlier collection of songs.

The Baltimore duo make legitimate cases for song of the year at least a half-dozen times on their fourth album, courtesy of the most deeply intoxicating arrangements and vocals you’re likely to find in the genre. The sure-handed orchestration and delivery unfurl into lush transcendence with such elegance and confidence that Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have raised the bar in dream-pop magnificence yet again. This is a band with an unflinching hand in its strokes, making minutely intimate and immensely majestic songcraft full of passion and carved out of love, heartache and emotional vulnerabilities. Beach House adds layer upon layer with increasingly ethereal flourishes like a dream-pop version of a Russian matryoshka doll in reverse. Victoria Legrand’s spellbinding vocals are at the center of every Bloom knockout “Myth” to  “Wild” to “Lazuli – hell, those are the first three songs on Bloom, and the fact that this album isn’t just front-loaded, it’s a first-minute-to-last-minute, full-on knockout is a testament to Beach House’s preeminence in the indie pop landscape.

Beach House’s penchant for creating maximum bliss so consistently with a little more than a voice and a fine collection of instruments (and the occasional beach recording of seagulls for good measure) is astounding. By the time the glorious lead lines  hook you on “Hours” near Bloom’s midway point, I’ll put up a month’s rent betting you’ll have fallen helplessly for Bloom.

Beach House are experts at pouring a beating, sometimes bleeding, heart all over meticulous arrangements and then pressing them into vinyl circles that otherwise would seem benign at first sight if not for the vibrant patterns on the cover art. You reap hearty rewards when you drop the needle on a Beach House album. Miraculously, Legrand and Scally have unearthed deeper ways to evolve a sonic landscape that was already immaculate on their career-best Teen Dream (a personal Top 3 pick for my album of the year in 2010.)

Bloom is a triumphant work of gorgeous pop artistry. The layers and gifts here will more than satisfy you in whichever pop ecstasy you seek: mesmerized introspection, wide-eyed wonder, deeply burrowing warmth or the sort that induces uncontrollable smiling. Beach House make complete albums of songs immersed in pure wonder that beg for dozens of listens and promise to be indispensable in your life through changing dispositions and age. With Bloom, they have created a new career best and an album certain to be one of the best of 2012.

Rarely is there a sure thing when it comes to your money and time; Bloom by Beach House is a sure thing.


We're looking for writers and editors to join the team. Interested? Apply today!