Beach House – Teen Dream

March 30, 2010

Beach House’s Teen Dream was a pleasant surprise and is an all around ethereal album. On track one, harmonies coalesce with guitar and soft use of the hi-hat to begin the album. “Zebra” builds up as the bass drum comes in softly, and lyrics begin to form. The harmonies fade into the background, as the instruments used so delicately at first start to be utilized for harder sound and finer details can be noticed. The same guitar melody stays throughout the song, with an underlying bass ride.

Track two, “Silver Soul,” begins with more melancholy harmonies, and a simple tambourine makes an appearance as vocalist Victoria Legrand hits the high notes.

“Norway” comes next and is even more pleasant than the first two tracks, with sweet “ah, ah, ah’s” complimenting the dominant vocals. Guitars murmur and percussion whispers back, making you wish the song would never end.

However, it does, as all songs must, and “Walk in the Park” commences, introducing the use of a drum machine that could only be made to work as well as it does by a band like Beach House. One’s ears capture the importance of the chorus upon first listen, but it’s not until you listen to the song through a couple times that it really begins to impact you. “In a matter of time, it would slip from my mind / In and out of my life, you would slip from my mind” unites listeners whether they realize it or not, the thoughts of all hearing the words simultaneously traveling to a common place for different reasons. It’s a song that’s hard not to start over right away once it ends.

Keyboards compete in “Used to Be,” making the off-beat of this one the most interesting. As the song progresses, the melody grows more and more beautiful, providing instant happiness upon listening.

Guitars match synthesizers and everything about “Lover of Mine” seems constant, making one of the most peaceful tracks on the album.

Elements of previous songs on the album reappear on “Better Times” at first, making it sound like the song’s already been heard. However, a unique guitar riff finally kicks in and allows Beach House to enter a new plane of existence. Climaxing rhythms take away the relaxation of the song for just a moment before returning to peaceful regularity, but further surprises lie just around the corner with enthralling vocals and a fast fade.

“10 Mile Stereo” is an airy number that would be best perceived while flying on an airplane in the midst of clouds. Its dreamy synthesizers make it one of the best tracks on the album.

Delightful piano parts make up “Real Love” and the gentle vocals augment the song further, leading into the final track ten, “Take Care.” It’s no different from any other song on the album in the way that it allows your thoughts to swirl around you as you take the music in.

Teen Dream is a release that most will find hard to take off repeat. Beach House may not create the most exciting albums, necessarily, but this one is sure to clear your mind and take you to a better place when you need it.

Most important tracks to check out: Walk in the Park, 10 Mile Stereo, Zebra

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