Sep 14, 2015

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Album Review: Beach House – Depression Cherry

Beach-House---Depression-Cherry

4.5

The hours of sunlight are drawing in, the leaves on the trees are turning a golden hue, and the air is getting just that little bit chillier; all this must mean it is time to soak up and enjoy a new Beach House LP – their sonic soundscape tailor made for the forthcoming winter season.

After the success of Bloom and the subsequent world tour that followed its release in 2012, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally re-grouped to plan and record Depression Cherry, their fifth LP, with the aim to go ‘back-to-basics’ and record a set of tracks that would have the ‘signature Beach-House’ sound. This is apparent from the very first few bars of opener, Levitation, which ebbs and flows along the by-now traditional high register of the keyboard, accompanied by an electric guitar, and which is unmistakably the sound of Beach House. Legrand’s ethereal vocals give the track a sense of being-elsewhere, of quite literally, levitating, and is a strong choice of opener.

Sparks follows, and is the sonic equivalent of a warm hug; comforting, pleasant-enough, usually leaving you wanting more of it. It is, by all means, a cracking track, and should find itself nestling as a crowd-favourite in the many shows and gigs to come. On the other side of the sonic-palate is 10:37, a more downbeat, brooding atmosphere, the insistent thud of a drum-machine layered amongst more breathy vocals. It is the shortest track on the record, and acts as a split between Sides A and B.

Legrand and Scally enlisted a 24-piece gospel choir for record closer Days Of Candy, and it is their harmonising which opens the first minute of the track, before being joined by Legrand, with the overall effect reminiscent of a carol concert. If this was played in a church, on an organ, lit only by candlelight, it would be a perfect setting, and serves to close the record in Beach House’s trademark, un-flashy style.  This could well be the band’s ‘torch-song’, a slow-burner to be played at the end of a concert, the crowd enthralled by the music being played. It is majestic, and brings to a close another fantastic record from the Baltimore duo, as always, leaving the listener wanting more.

Joe Sweeting