A lot of bands ape their influences, and a few even do it successfully. Far more rare are the artists who completely breathe in the essence of what made their heroes tick, exhaling something uniquely infused with the original spirit but unfolding its own logic.
Beach House has been a solid band for years, trading in dusky dreampop that bloomed into technicolor and leaned to the pop side of that sound as the albums went on. Their new album, Depression Cherry, sounds like a confident leap into the rarefied territory of legends like Cocteau Twins and Slowdive.
Interestingly enough, first single Sparks reminds me of My Bloody Valentine in a big way, while the rest of the album is far more interested in playing with the lighter shades of the bands mentioned above. There’s something about the guitar melody cresting with Victoria Legrand’s voice that instantly pulls my thoughts to Loveless. Instead of feeling derivative, it’s a well-earned spiritual nod.
In all seriousness, I haven’t enjoyed Beach House this much since first discovering the band in 2008. The first song kicks off bursting with renewed energy, much like Cocteau Twins’ very own Cherry Coloured Funk on their 1990 masterpiece Heaven Or Las Vegas.
I’m also picking up more of a spooky romanticism, nodding to the kind of dystopian 1950’s American Dream vibe that permeates the music of Twin Peaks. Final song Days of Candy, in particular, could have come from the show’s very own Julee Cruise herself. I’m pleasantly reminded of Laura Palmer’s theme itself, Mysteries of Love.
I’ve only listened to this album two times but I was so bursting with enthusiasm I had to write about it immediately. I get beyond excited when an artist finds a novel shade of shoegaze or unearths a new facet of dreampop. These sounds form part of the core of my musical identity; if jazz is the brains, shoegaze and dreampop are the heart. No other genre brings a blush to my face in this way. Suffice it to say that I’m shocked at how well this new Beach House album hits a preternatural sweet spot.
If you’re interested in hearing it right now, you can preorder the album and get access to the whole thing streaming until its release next week. I couldn’t resist; they’ve got a Loser edition clear vinyl on offer!
Be sure to check my post about the best tune on the album, Space Song. I can only say that it’s not only a worthy follow up to Devotion‘s peak Astronaut, it’s a close cousin to the most swoon-worthy songs of Spiritualized.