Beach House – Depression Cherry //
After more than three years between album releases, Baltimore’s Beach House are back with their fifth studio effort and third offering on Sub Pop Records. Venturing into the Deep South to record their latest material, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally make a concerted effort on Depression Cherry to breathe new life into their dreamy, sleep-inducing songs. But how does the LP stack up against the group’s other work?
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BAM TEAM RATING:
Beach House have elevated their game over the last five years to become one of indie rock’s biggest darlings. After receiving heaps of praise from fans and critics alike for its previous two albums — 2010’s Teen Dream and 2012’s Bloom — the Baltimore duo comprised of Victoria Legrand (lead vocals, keyboards) and Alex Scally (guitar, bass pedals, keyboards, backing vocals) return to a more minimalistic approach on its fifth full length. Consequently, the band’s revamped songwriting process for Depression Cherry does yield some solid results, whether it’s Scally’s gritty guitar riff that opens “Sparks” or Legrand’s keyboard melody that fuels “Beyond Love”, but it also evokes many of the same dream-pop vibes that have become heavily associated with its sound over the last decade. That’s not to say the nine-track LP, at over 44 minutes in length, represents a major step back for Legrand and Scally. Depression Cherry, rather, is just not as sonically transformative as I would have hoped. -Josh Herwitt
3 BAMS // Top Song: “Sparks”
For over 10 years, Beach House have remained true to their sound with Alex Scally’s distorted guitar riffs and the French-born Victoria Legrand’s wistful vocals. Now, the dream-pop duo from Maryland has released its fifth studio album since forming back in 2004. Even though Depression Cherry does not drift far from the beach, it does introduce some instrumental chaos over Legrand’s calming voice. In explaining the meaning behind the album’s first single “Sparks”, Legrand told NPR in an interview early last month that the song refers to “that moment when music and words become feeling.” Similar to a warm embrace, Beach House’s Depression Cherry transcends listeners to a more serene environment, inviting you to “live again.” -Nik Crossman
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: “Sparks”
Beach House perfectly encapsulate the sentiment “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” In the Baltimore two-piece’s sound, lyrics and evolution, a sense of nostalgia and melancholy is deeply entrenched as Depression Cherry follows the same pattern of its two previous (and fantastic) albums Teen Dream and Bloom — an organ, drum machine, bass and guitar washing over the hypnotic voice of Victoria Legrand. The lyrical content of this album seems much more upfront compared to Beach House’s previous efforts, especially in the opening track “Levitation”, while Alex Scally’s multi-instrumental talents are undeniably present in songs like “Sparks” and the six-minute-blossoming-wall-of-melodies that is “PPP”. Beach House is a feeling, and “Days of Candy”, to me, is the perfect song that captures that feeling — of longing for the past, filled with hope and fear for the future — that is Beach House. As everything changes, Beach House stays the same, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. -Brett Ruffenach
4 BAMS // Top Song: “Days of Candy”
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