December: Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars

Good evening. Welcome to Beach House – Thank your lucky stars.

9 years ago I was checking out what was happening in Manchester that coming weekend. ‘Beach House’ were playing at Day and Night that Saturday. I googled them, came up with a you tube or two and ordered the album as I liked what I heard and wanted to know more before going to the gig with Stacey. I loved the album …. but we never went to the gig. Can’t recall why.

That 1st album was a very honest, raw affair. It was early enough in the whole ‘dream-pop’ (yuk) ‘low-fi’ (puke) thing that many of the tropes of the genre had not warn thin. The 2nd album didn’t move it on and I didn’t love it. Then they released ‘Teen Dream’ that everyone except for David loved. Teen Dream was a big step forward and played with lots of the same ideas but paired them with some really strong, catchy pop songs. Literally everyone who has heard it at our house has gone out and bought it.

2 years later they released ‘Bloom’ which annoyed the shit out of me. They released the same album again but with a different cover. There was nothing new. It was embarrassing how formula driven it was. Love affair over.

In August of this year they released ‘Depression Cherry’ I was excited as Beach House have such a big place in my heart … but was disappointed again as there was once again nothing new and the formula had been trotted out yet again. So it was with disgust and huge frustration that they released another album 2 months later! WTF! Quality control anyone?

However, when I listened to this one I heard what I had wanted to hear for the last 2 albums. Some new ideas, playing with some new instruments, possibly a bit darker return to their debut that I loved so much. A couple of tracks blew my socks off (‘All your yeahs’ and Elegy to the void’). It felt more honest and real than anything that they’d released since their debut. In some ways it feels like a debut. I’ve had this on hard rotation. My wife adores it and reminds her of our early days which always helps. I am conscious that this may be more of a ‘heart’ choice than a ‘head’ choice as Album of the Month but what the hell. Live dangerously.

Merry Xmas.

 

4 comments

  1. David Allison

    Happy New Year! I guess we all got caught up with Xmas…

    So. I’m enjoying this. And it’s been on repeat a fair bit. And it’s DEFINITELY better than Depression Cherry (which I’ve checked out on Spotify). But…but…but…oh I don’t know, it’s the same old Beach House problem. I love their sound, I love what they do, but I think the songwriting isn’t up there, not most of the time. I have a collection of about 5 or 6 Beach House songs on my iTunes that I do listen to quite a bit. You’re wrong about Teen Dream, I love some of it – and those that I love, I adore (Zebra, Norway). Same here. One Thing is a great song. So is PPP on Depression Cherry – in fact, PPP is AMAZING. But have they ever made a whole album that blows your socks off like the odd song does? For me, nope. So yes, this is definitely one of their better than some of their recent output, and it’s maybe their best since Teen Dream. But I want them to take off, to fly, but I don’t know that we ever get off the ground for long enough. Still, I enjoy the odd 4 minute ride, but maybe not 45 minutes.

  2. misterstory

    Happy New Year.

    I think you raise some good points. In response, I think ‘Teen Dream’ is their belter of an album. I think you’re right that this is their best since. I do think this is more of a collection of songs than an ‘album’ but I also haven’t stopped playing it since i got it. But I think it is a good collection of good songs. ‘All your yeahs’ and Elegy …’ are probably my two favourite Beach House tracks full stop.

    I agree about wanting them to fly. Perhaps this is a step to something great?

  3. whyohwhyohwhy

    I’ve enjoyed listening to this, and I’m aware of Beach House in bits from the last few years, but I’d have filed them under “nice, but didn’t really sink in enough for me to follow up”. This is more of a summer record for me as well, it’s slow, sweltering melodies, and lots of reverb and heavy on the fx. It’s dreamy, but also the lyrics get lost in the mix a bit and I find it hard for the record to remain in memory for long.

    It’s a nice choice in a really strong year, but I’m not sure if it’ll still be on the phone in a year. (sorry). It’s been such a strong year for albums that it feels a little middle of the road in comparison.

  4. nolankane706

    Apologies for not getting onto this earlier. It has been a non stop few months with a silly amount of new music along the way.

    Let’s start out with a side line. Isn’t it great that Sub:Pop are still around and releasing good music? There are very few labels with the history and versatility of Sub:Pop.

    Anyway, I digress. Beach House. I have always liked the idea of owning beach house albums and listening to them end to end and getting from the album what I have got from the single. Sadly they have never got to that stage (their first album came close).

    To say that I wasn’t sure about the prospect of this album is an understatement. They released and album earlier in the year, and regardless of what pitchfork says, it was pony! I thought ‘another year and another lack lustre album by beach house’. And then they released another, pitchfork thought it was great, and I wondered what was happening here. Payola all over again? Two albums in a year? Both good by any band is next to impossible.

    There are things I like about this album that could be better, but I like it. I think that their song writing is getting there and as an album I like listening to this end to end. I’ve played it in the house and Hayley likes it. I play it in the car and I like it. Brother Guy is right in the fact that this is a summer album, and I’ll play it in the summer.

    Lets hope moving forward they stay on this path and get to the level that we seem to be all hoping for.

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