Beach House: Bloom

Beach House
(Sub Pop Records)

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Beach House is nothing if not consistent.

The band has had a relatively constant formula since its 2006 debut, but now, four albums in, Bloom showcases a band whose aesthetic hasn’t gotten old, whose sound hasn’t grown tired and gimmicky, and that hasn’t lost the ability to make the listener swoon.

Any worries that they wouldn’t top 2010’s Teen Dream are almost immediately cast aside during the opening “Myth,” four minutes of shimmering guitar and Victoria Legrand’s ever-alluring and, at times, booming voice.

If you wait to be let down over the course of the record, you won’t be. It’s full of haunting melodies and dreamy sounds; chill to the extreme but not “chillwave,” somber but not dark, pretty but not hokey.

It all builds to one heck of an ending; from the lovely “Wishes” to the rather epic, slow-burning closer of “Irene,” which at about seven minutes is easily the group’s longest song.

The most satisfying thing about hearing Bloom is the fact that, despite the fairly sparse vocals-guitar-keyboard-drum machine palette, Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally have been able to transcend the trappings of most duos with such limitations and get better and better over time.

Legrand’s voice has become a full-scale, shiver-inducing powerhouse, a Stevie Nicks for the indie crowd. The arrangements are still simple but more lush than ever.

Most importantly, this duo still writes beautiful songs that transcend the “now.” This one’s a keeper.

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About John Mordecai

John Mordecai is a musician and writer from New Haven, Conn. He was the bassist for Brooklyn-based ERAAS (formerly APSE), and also plays (sometimes) in New England-based Shark and Brooklyn's The Tyler Trudeau Attempt. He also maintains a blog (sometimes) at http://selfsensored.wordpress.com/
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