On The Beach House

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I hate it when I have to rely on cliché.  But stuff happens, y'know, Dear Readers?

AR-DepressionCherryCOVER225.jpgIn the case of this fine band called Beach House, there is a musical parallel which by now I'm sure the band is tired of  hearing (so apologies up front!). 

But... I will resort to it because said cliché paints a very immediate picture -- at least it might for many of you in the 30-55 year-old range who are probably familiar with said band I will soon name, and compare Beach House to... 

In fact...  I am going to fall back on them a whole bunch throughout this review: The Cocteau Twins.

Mea culpa.

Musical influences are a funny thing... Some of us care a whole lot about it. Others could care less. To that, none of my friends seemed to even blink when I brought up the comparison that Beach House sounds like a modern day twist on The Cocteau Twins. 'Yeah, right...  but... their songs are just so pretty,' dismissively replied my music buddy John, when he was first playing me their album Bloom several years ago, my initiation to the group. 

And its true, their songs are in fact so pretty

After re-listening to my fave Cocteau's albums back-to-back with Beach House, I realized that while there are similarities, they are no doubt different bands. 

For starters, Beach House has been singing in English right from the start as far as I know... while The Cocteaus invented their own "language" for many of their early albums...There are lots of subtle differences in the Beach House approach to this sort of ethereal space pop music. In some ways Beach House has a more direct (if you will) sound ...  

Whatever... 

Most people I have met who enjoy this band are really just very happy to have new music like pouring out of their speakers -- lovely ambient pop music with loosely psychedelic guitar textures, driving bass lines, sometimes eerie keyboards and angelic otherworldly vocals.

Sort of like The Coct.... oh... never mind... 

AR-ThankYourLuckyStarsCover225.jpgAnyhow, a couple of years back I started working on this review of Beach House's then-new albums Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars  but somehow my article fell through the cracks between my computer and my editor's desktop. And while preparing a review of the brand "new" Beach House B-sides and Rarities compilation, I discovered the error, so we thought this would be good to catch up on all three releases. 

To borrow a phrase from Frank Zappa: "let me take you to the beach..."  

B-Sides to Seasides...

Reviewing a new album by Beach House is a little like reviewing a flower in a field. They all tend to look fanciful, some smell real nice and are generally good for our spirit, mind and body.  But to try and tell you the specific details on what makes said flower unique and different, well that is a whole other bucket of bees.

So I will say up front that the new Bech House album, titled bluntly B-Sides and Rarities, is a fine collection that stands up well to any of their other recordings. The sound is uniformly quite good and the LP disc pressing very nice, on quiet, clear and well pressed standard weight vinyl. The accompanying download also sounds real nice too.

But what does it sound like, you ask? 

Well... 

It sounds like... Beach House!

I mean, unless you are the hardest of hardcore fans of a group like this, its hard to name a specific song.   I mean, can you name any one specific Cocteau Twins song from a specific album?  Off the top of my head, I can from one album which I played incessantly back in the 80s when I first discovered them via Treasure.  Tracks like "Ivo" and "Donimo" come to mind ...  

AR-DepressionCherryplaying225.jpgBut with Beach House, I can only say at this stage that I like their albums as whole-disc-listening experiences, something I encourage you to do (not just cherry picking key tracks). There is too much thoughtful goodness going on here to break it apart from the others contextually.  And this factor  makes this new album of B-sides from their entire career all the more wonderful as there is remarkable consistency of sound between the recordings.  Its good stuff, no doubt. 

I've previously reviewed Bloom which remains a fave. But just don't ask me to name a specific song! Maybe in a few more years ...

Anyhow, we'll get more to their "sound" in a few moments...

Yesterday & Today...

When I first set out to review Beach House's Depression Cherry album in 2015, I was all excited as I got one of the last copies at Amoeba Music of the "Loser" editions on colored vinyl. This came complete in a nifty red velvet album sleeve -- visual echoes of The Bee Gees' Odessa album, for those of you who remember that tactile spin...

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