Thursday, May 19, 2011
BEACH HOUSE - TEEN DREAM
Mental note to self. Don't say the words 'Animal' and or 'Collective' in succession again unless you want a million angry post-folk rave fans descending on you like one of the saucier plagues of Egypt.
Anyway, moving swiftly along.
Last night saw me back on the ravioli (walnut and gorgonzola if you are interested), as I chewed away I channel surfed until I found something that wasn't reality TV or a talent show. I came in about half way through what I think was the first Tomb Raider film. It's pretty fucking terrible.
So why didn't I while away the evening listening to something wonderful? Thin walls, baby downstairs, a stereo that despite my best efforts refuses to perform at low volumes. That and Angelina Jolie's cod 'English' accent hypnotized me into wondering just how bad it and indeed the rest of the film could get. Answer: Very.
I did manage to give this a spin this morning though and decided that in the absence of anything more interesting passing my fair ears I should share my thoughts.
So Beach House. I was turned onto the first album a few years back by a friend in Portland OR. when they had more of an overt Goth/Folk thing going on. That mood seemed to continue through to their second effort 'Devotion': Bleak, late night, Diazepam music. On 'Teen Dream' that slow and steady temperament is still there, Victoria Legrand sings like she is on the verge of falling asleep and it's a delivery that wears well, adding to the dreaminess (dare I say 'Dreampopiness') of it all. 'Teen Dream' is lazy sex music with the added bonus of improved song writing and tunes.
The backing for the most part hides behind a synth-wash of some sort or another that and cymbal heavy percussion. It's a good if not at times fulffy sound. That said it's obviously very deliberate and anything more clinical might drain away some of the band's magic.
Despite being quite partial to the sound of Beach House they don't get off that easily, even if one half of the band is the granddaughter of score composer legend Michel Legrand ('Umbrellas of Cherbourg' may well be the creative pinnacle of mankind). I've already touched on her at times questionable delivery. She sounds like she is from Hartlepool or one of the less glamorous areas of the North of England. Why such an odd affectation? Then it struck me, is it a misfired attempt at trying to channel some of Siouxie Sioux's dark energy? After all her's has become a popular voice to imitate/emulate of late.
Gripe number two with a bullet would be the album sleeve. It's bollocks. The albums predecessor saw the duo huddled around a candle-lit table, it was a good visual clue to the sound within. What is your man on the street going to think if he picks this up? Tapioca? Semolina? Rice Pudding? Bread Sauce?
Anyway, I would suggest that you listen to this but given the amount of mad propz it received toward the end of last year landing in pretty much every year end list I read, my guess is that you already have... Which in retrospect makes the above exercise, with the exception of the Tomb Raider opening a bit pointless.