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Album Review: Beach House ‘7’

13 years, 77 songs, and seven albums later, things to fall into place impressively.

Clarisse Dent

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Beach House’s newest album, 7, is the perfect balance between the Cocteau Twins and the Beach Boys. “Dark Spring” opens this vibrant record, exploding with the pure bliss, quiet psychedelic vocals and beachy synths.

Popular opinion: “this is a significantly different Beach House than the one I have been listening to for the last 13 years”. But that is not negative in the least… it’s actually amazing. 

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally formed the band in 2004 after meeting in Baltimore’s indie rock scene, producing music composed largely of organ, programmed drums, and slide guitar. It’s impressive that the band has been around for 13 years and they can still successfully experiment in vastly different ways without losing their signature sound and finesse. 

The duo have perfectly satisfying reasons why their sound has changed. Wanting to eliminate certain things that they felt held them back as a band and changing the recording process were the key reasons for this shift in musical style. They have opened themselves up to letting their creativity take over 100 percent and decided to stop worrying about dedicating the song to being something that can be recreated live. 

For this reason, some tracks were created without using guitar or even keyboard. Sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it? Beach House without the guitar or keyboard? Well, it’s not disappointing, that’s for sure. 

The due is clearly onto something, because they’ve managed to create sounds that are just as euphonically pleasing as before, if not better in some cases. Who doesn’t love a good dose of some peaceful distortion?

Changing your sound is already a pretty big thing for a band to do, but changing their lyrical approach makes for a massive shift. Their lyrics shifted from focusing on darkness to fthe beauty that arises in dealing with darkness.

The lead single “Lemon Glow,” imakes clear that’s what the band had in mind: “When you turn the lights down low, lemon color, honey glow/ It’s what you do, this pulls me through/ to the other end, where it begins.”

The peacefulness of their lyrics bring rather spiritual feeling to the table. Legrand and Scally are interested by the human mind as well as the spiritual energy of nature.

Sounds like the perfect fit: listening to beach house while up in the mountains. Exploring your spirituality at the peak of the universe. 

“Last Ride,” features just a keyboard and harmonizing synth, yet evokes a complete dream state. It’s a perfect way to close out their masterpiece, 7.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Clarisse Dent is a musician who has possessed a deep passion for writing since a young age. She studied Music Production and Piano while attending college in Los Angeles, which led her to discovering the journalism end of the music industry. Being able to focus on her passions for a living is what ultimately drove her to make the decision to pursue music journalism.

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