Sit down, close your eyes, and say “Beach House” and “Teen Dream.” What do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear? Whatever it is, it’s probably a lot like what Beach House’s third album “Teen Dream” sounds like.
I can’t say how it compares to the previous two albums from the boy/girl dream pop (yes, that’s an actual genre of music) duo, because this is the first time I have listened to them; but, what I can say is that this is a solid album on its own.
It starts out like, well, a dream. A haunting lone riff slowly brings everything in and melds into waves of gentle moans on the album’s first track “Zebra.”
Victoria Legrand brings the soft chaos into focus with her PJ Harvey–esque voice and song starts to drive forward with a steady, droning bass drum.
This song is an early high point for the album as it moves into a chorus which feels like it is ultimately building to something, but in fact merely just melds into the next track. It’s not a letdown that the song does not explode into a triumphant climax; in fact it seems as though Beach House does not want to wake you up from your gentle slumber quite yet.
The next two tracks, “Silver Soul” and “Norway,” feel like a combined movement of a gentle masterpiece. Normally, I think bands are lazy and bad when they do little to differentiate between their songs (see: Nickelback). This case, however, is different. Make no mistake, these songs are clearly different, but they FEEL very similar; I don’t think this is a case of laziness.
It seems that a big part of Beach House is their ability to distribute this dreamy foggy quality to all of their songs. This sort of constant euphoric feeling is very difficult to maintain — indeed I haven’t heard a band pull this sort of thing off since Radiohead’s “Amnesiac” — for more than twenty minutes, but Beach House executes this feeling for the entire 49–minute album.
This is an extremely unique quality that does not occur too often. That is to say that while “Teen Dream” may not be as great as the defining albums of the last thirty years, it certainly is a great effort in an uncommon way.
Even when there is a slight break with “Walk in the Park,” the euphoria does not cease; rather it feels like something mildly has changed in your dream.
The album ends with the appropriately titled “Take Care.” I say that because the title not only sounds like a farewell, but also suggests that the members of Beach House are reassuring us that they will take care of us.
The song is a gentle send off to one of the best albums of the past academic year. As the song slowly fades out, with Legrand assuring us, “I’ll take care of you,” I dare you not to either fall asleep or begin listlessly daydreaming.
WARC’s Weekly Top 5:
1. “Contra,” by Vampire
2. “Teen Dream,” by Beach
3. “Ugly Side of Love,” by
4. “Astro Coast,” by Surfer
5. “Transference,” by Spoon
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