Beach House - Beach House
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Beach House
Beach House

Under the name of Beach House, the Baltimore duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have created an album of lo-fi, hazy summer dream pop that seems like it could have easily been conjured up while spending time in residence at their namesake. Over quiet, shuffling drum machine beats, the two spill out woozy guitars, vocals, and organs into slightly off-kilter pop nuggets that sound like they could have been made at any point in the past thirty (or more) years.

"Saltwater" opens the release and basically contains all of the referenced elements as fuzzed-out submerged beats pitter patter away under layers of groaning organs and sparkling keyboards. Legrand adds her breathy vocals in a bath of reverb, and the result isn't too far removed from Mazzy Star if they would have shaved off the clean edges.

The slide guitars and synths of "Apple Orchard" (along with the nearly ever-present heartbeat of beats) make for some of the most dreamy instrumentation on the entire release, sleepwalking through heady territory before being pushed completely into narcolepsy by the vocals of Legrand. "Master Of None" is even better, with more radiant synths and dreamy guitar rolling out over a slightly funkier rhythm and what are easily the best vocal hooks on the album. With a nice layer of hiss on it, the track feels like a throwback straight to some sort of dusty vinyl gem from the 70s.

There isn't exactly a lot of variety on the release, as it ranges from woozy mid-tempo to even woozier downtempo. The back porch studio instrumentation (including a couple flubs) is just ragged enough to keep things exciting and the vocals of Legrand hover somewhere between the aforementioned Hope Sandoval and Nico. It sounds like a late summer album, but it's just dark enough that I bet it will sound nice looking out the window to a dusting of snow on the ground as well.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2006-10-19 21:11:17