Beach House

Thank Your Lucky Stars

Written by: MIN on 22/11/2015 09:48:33

Earlier this year, Beach House released an album, “Depression Cherry”, and only a few months later, they’re back again with another twist of sugar and melancholy. “Thank Your Lucky Stars”, is the Baltimore-based band’s newest outing, and although one might fear that the release arrives a bit too soon, rest assured that Victoria Legrand and Alex Scully has not run out of great melodies and dreamy atmosphere just yet. Where “Depression Cherry” was a very full and heavy release relying very much on cohesion, reverberation and grandiose and lush soundscapes, “Thank Your Lucky Stars” is a lot more minimalistic in its approach; the first song even starts with nothing but the beat of a drum.

The album plays a lot more on the massive dynamic changes that Beach House is known for: Most parts maintain a stripped down and very minimalistic sound, just so it can suddenly flesh out multiple layers of instrumentation and surprise the listener. Instead of focusing as much on Scully’s guitar-playing throughout, most of the songs center on keyboards – but when the record reaches a song such as “One Thing” and its incredibly heavy and distorted guitar, keys become second in favor of raucousness. It starts off a lot like something off “Depression Cherry” with the guitar just following the beat of the drums, but after about two and a half minutes, it’s joined by a keyboard melody subtly progressing. During the last minute of the song, Alex Scully makes his guitar weep by pulling on the strings like you’ve never heard him play before; it starts going left, and just when you think it’ll keep going, it makes a right turn and continues as such for a few notes.

Suddenly, you’re thrown into a harpsichord-sounding lead on “Common Girl” and next you know, you’re in the middle of the massively layered “Elegy to the Void” with Victoria Legrand singing ominous lyrics about altars, maidens and hollow hills. Add to this the great melodies and guitar parts created within, and you have one of the most accomplished pieces that Beach House has made to date. Throughout, the album actually has a few songs which could be categorized as such. Unfortunately, some of the other songs found on the album are rather forgettable and just seem to blend in, but the majority of great tunes heavily outweigh them.

If “Depression Cherry” was a launch into space, then “Thank Your Lucky Stars” is the sad goodbye to that. Not because it’s a weaker album – on the contrary. But it definitely draws a lot more on sadness. If its predecessor had a glimpse of hope, then this is bleak and hopeless (the last minute of “All Your Yeahs” has one of the most heart-wrenching melodies you’ll hear all year). It’s difficult to say something about Legrand’s vocals or Scully’s playing that hasn’t already been said; Legrand still sounds like the epitome of “Alice in Wonderland” lost in “The Twilight Zone”, and Scully still possesses great skill with a guitar (although he’s less present than previously – but when he shines, he outshines). Overall, “Thank Your Lucky Stars” is a slightly better album than “Depression Cherry”, as it manages to spread out its highlights more balanced. By doing this, the listener never gets stuck during the record. But if the band had taken the best of both albums and made them into one cohesive LP, they might have had the best outing of their career.

Download: All Your Yeahs, One Thing, Elegy to the Void
For The Fans Of: Cocteau Twins, Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent
Listen: facebook.com/beachhouse

Release date 16.10.2015
Sub Pop, Bella Union

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