[sic] Magazine

Beach House – Teen Dream

Beach House has the sort of sound that you’d expect from a band with that name — languid, vaguely dreamlike pop, full of summer nights, sparkling stars and a twist of retro 60s psychedelia. ‘Teen Dream’ is a pretty polished product of that sound — it’s basically a string of silvery pop tunes, all of them enjoyable and sweet but with only one real standout.

‘Zebra’ opens the album like a sunrise — a languid cycling guitar, and murmured lyrics about a deceptive, exquisite person. “You know you’re gold, you don’t gotta worry none/Oasis child, born and so wild/Don’t I know you better than the rest/All deception, all deception from you…” It slips easily into the second song, the mellow curling ‘Silver Soul.’

The songs that follow are mostly in the same vein — mellotron laced pop songs that reek of the 60s, breathless rustling stretches, peppy beach-party tunes like ‘Used To Be,’ and sparkly melodies that rattle and shimmer like a jewellery box. And if the first couple songs are sunrise, the final couple of songs are sunset — a slow, easy descent into the stately ‘Real Love’ and the soft, vaguely psychedelic ‘Take Care.’

‘Teen Dream’ is a lot like Beach House’s last two albums — in other words, it’s a fairly steady and unwavering little pop album. There are some little speckles of dancy sound or up tempo moments, but a lot of the time it’s just a steady stream of mildly psychedelic pop. The biggest flaw is that there’s only one real standout song on the album (the alluring epic ‘Walk in the Park’).

In fact, the rest of the songs just bleed into a big satiny expanse, but fortunately they’re very sweet, pretty songs. As for the instrumentation, it’s all very smooth and seamlessly wound together — lots of gentle percussion, cycling guitars, plinky keyboard and some tambourine, and colorful pillars of organ that prop up the slower melodies.

Victoria Legrand’s raspy voice is a bit of a surprise at first, but eventually it sinks into the melodies and becomes a part of them. And while their lyrics have some awkward moments (“The heart is a stone and this is a stone that we throw”), but otherwise they tend to be a bit surreal and very evocative (“The needle along the spinning wheel/Collecting silver coil/It gathers heat without you”), with wooden houses, beaches, and lovers who want too much.

‘Teen Dream’ is a slightly more polished form of Beach House’s signature sound — mellow, sweet and very pretty. Nice work.