No introduction needed as to who Beach House are. We know who is Victoria Legrand with her equally important musical partner Alex Scally. Reigning throne bearer for dream pop circuit with the arrival of the important Teen Dream in 2010, Legrand and Scally defend the title with their latest Bloom. With a quarter of a million followers in Facebook, the mystery that looms over Legrand’s ethereal presence on stage and Scally’s shy-shoegazing appeal is a major key player in the band’s increasing popularity known to only few prior Teen Dream, and with Bloom the band is set for a wider audience.
Most of us, including this writer, has fallen in love with the fact how the first two records’ moodiness were shattered apart by the emotional honesty shown heard in Teen Dream. Not that the lyrics in that record were all out, the accessibility to the band’s music was heralded, much like gates opening to a showroom of vintage and potion. That openness grows further in Bloom, as heard in “Wild,” the second track after the earlier released “Myth” where Legrand opens with “My mother said to me that I would get in trouble/ our father won’t come home ’cause he is seeing double.” Comparing with how bleak yet emotionally attaching “Silver Soul” and “Zebra” are, the directness the band approach the songs in the latest record is a step up which occurs, too, in “Troublemaker” and “Other People” among others. It is clearly evident that Legrand took the time to hit the books and work on her narratives as compared to how Teen Dream‘s set was made in between tours.
The free-for-an-email track “Myth” hinted when it was given to us that the band has not really tweaked much their instruments for the new record. Maintaining their much loved soaring guitar courtesy of Scally (with takes a background act in “On The Sea” shadowed by his partner’s keyboard work) and Legrand’s restrained yet gutsy rasp, the duo invest in the meshing of these two qualities and added very few embellishments. “Lazuli,” however, starts off in dotting beats we have not heard before in their other songs, and this pattern gets carried over as it erupts into a tapestry of sound launched in its chorus. That track happens to be one of the best in the bunch, a song about ageing and getting the same old person again, Legrand echoes in three layers of voices repeating “like no other, you could be replaced.” In an interview, Scally explained how crucial it is for the band in choosing the opener and closer, and with Bloom it works just as the same. “Irene,” as the last tracks plays longer than the others and resonates with fiercer guitar whir and a spell of a chorus. It goes through two parts; the first being calmer before cascading to a panoramic chant of “it’s a strange paradise,” with each and every instrument wallow into heightened moments of their own.
Bloom is probably a grower much like its predecessor, unfolding though repeat listening and creating moments with each song. However, Beach House has touched new grounds in it that makes Teen Dream a bit of a special one rather than this one. The continuous play trance of Teen Dream and the bewitching aura of Devotion and the self-titled are written off for a songs that move a seat closer to the band and their visions, less veiled and more aware that we are listening. This is not necessarily a disadvantage for Legrand and Scally; they have not really wandered that far to isolate their fans yet also has not stayed at the same place to give us a bore. Some shift here and there with few moments thrown in for the ride. In its title the band states its intention with Bloom, they are just at the start of it all.