I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I didn’t love Beach House. There are surely scores of people out there who can’t stand them. They must be a frustrating band to hate because, well, all their songs take such a uniformly dramatic, florid tone that likely makes detractors want to barf simply because their style is so consistently overwhelming. In the first five seconds of both “Lazuli,” their first official single off of their upcoming album, Bloom (dropping on May 15th) and their other released track from the album, “Myth,” the Beach House trademarks are unmistakable. The classic sense of drama is there, enveloping all the notes, all of which are soaked in Victoria Legrand’s lush vocals. It’s pretty much perfect.
“Myth,” contrary to what some have tried to tell themselves, really isn’t much of a stylistic departure for Beach House. The repetitive beat that carries throughout the song, along with Legrand’s wistful vocals, gives the song a sense of distance that we’ve seen beautifully on songs like “Walk in the Park” and “Home Again,” some of my favorites from their catalogue. Ultimately, though, the first time I heard this song, “Take Care,” the stunning closer to Teen Dream, came to mind. “Myth” is a bit darker, and there may not be as many higher, lighter notes on it, but “Take Care” nonetheless came to mind. That isn’t to say this song is some retread ‒ it’s merely a well-executed, emotional Beach House song. There aren’t many things better than that, right?
“Lazuli” is a bit of a departure. It’s probably some of the most complex, layered material they’ve made. Scally has thrown in some really complex orchestration that just grows and grows as the song goes, taking new directions and routes, never settling. It reaches that sweet spot of making the listener question if this song should be making them totally melancholy or strangely hopeful. It might be a perfect song for a summer day, driving to the beach, or it might be a perfect for those nights when you’re in bed and you can’t sleep, so you reach for your iPod and listen to music alone under the covers. It’s breathtaking.
It’s funny to think Beach House has really only been in our collective consciousness since 2006, when their self-titled debut popped up. The way they’ve so brilliantly formed their unmistakable style, carving out a beloved following in the indie scene, makes you forget just how young they are. Legrand and her male counterpart, Alex Scally, are both 30 years old. They’ve already made two arguably legendary albums in Teen Dream and Devotion, and it sure sounds like a third is on the way.