Album review: Beach House

Beach House - 7 (Bella Union)

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are Beach House.

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are Beach House.

BEACH HOUSE have become a strong argument that dream-pop, and more specifically, shoegaze, should not be considered as just eighties/nineties genres which newer bands revive, but as a living form of music, still ripe for exploration.

This is the duo of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand's seventh album - hence the title 7 - featuring 11 sonically immersive songs, where each track envelops the ears with dense, texture-heavy, ambience. The pace is often mid tempo and meditative, with neither the guitar nor the keyboards allowed to be the primary instrument. Instead both work in service of the melody and the atmospherics - witness the majestically beautiful 'Dive' and the mastery with which the pair transition it from slow to fast.

The loping beat and sound of Scally and Legrand's duetting vocals make 'Pay No Mind' one of the finest love songs in the shoegaze cannon; 'Lose Your Smile' is an irresistible mix of acoustic guitar, electro, and languid indie vocals, recalling Air's Moon Safari; while the polyphonic vocal styles of 'L'Inconnue' at times produces something closer to the beauty of sacred music.

Whereas early Beach House works were so delicate they were in danger of evaporating, there is a strong beating heart underlying the songs on this and more recent albums, providing firm foundations from which the duo can create. Admittedly it does not hit the heights of 2015's Thank Your Lucky Stars, but there remains enough to show shoegaze has plenty left to reveal to indie fans.



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