Beach House pretty much always tend to sound like Beach House. This is both an irrefutable fact, and the idea upon which your enjoyment of the band’s new album Depression Cherry will most likely hinge. Because five albums in (not all of which I’ve heard admittedly), it seems pretty clear that this band is not ever going to change its sound too much. However, they don’t really need to since their sound is so singularly unique, much like a band such as, say The National or mmm… actually, I don’t know that there are really that many modern artists that fall in to this category. But basically what I’m saying is that Beach House are a band that can kind of get away without ever really tweaking their sound in any huge way. And I guess that’s a bit of a rare thing, since as I just demonstrated, it’s hard to think of many band in this day and age that have that ability to sound unlike any other band, since it tends to feel like everything in rock has already been done a million times. Yet for Beach House, just the sound of them being themselves is pretty much always compelling enough.
Granted, there are a few modest developments that mark this latest Beach House record as being something other than just another Beach House record. Depression Cherry sees them scaling things back a little bit, as their last album, 2012’s Bloom, captured the band reaching towards almost Cathedral-sized soundscapes that slowly seemed to grow out of no where. Here, we have a bit of a return to a more guitar-based sound, which might be most apparent on the single “Sparks”, which sounds a lot like a My Bloody Valentine song, which is welcome since there are only so many My Bloody Valentine songs. Also, it’s a connection that’s kind of interesting to me, since both MBV and Beach House are bands that would fall into the “so distinct that they don’t need to change” category, though I wouldn’t immediately think of the two bands in the same sentence despite having plenty of sonic similarities.
And even though I am enjoying listening to this latest Beach House album, I can’t help but be a little skeptical of where exactly I stand with this band. Because sure, I’ve liked everything I’ve heard by them, especially considering that their last two releases made it on to my top ten albums of the year. But at the same time, they’re not a band I return to a bunch. This doesn’t tend to be the case with most of the albums/bands from the past few years that I really like, and with Beach House it seems like the only time I’m listening to them is in the wake of one of their new albums coming out. Maybe this has to do with the ambient beauty that is inherent in their songs, which are of course nice to put on in the background, but for me music is rarely something I just want to be there in background. But as far as unobtrusive background music goes, I don’t think you can do much better than Beach House, and maybe that’s just the place this band occupies in my musical tastes, and probably always will as long as they manage to keep that lush sound of theirs’ intact.
Favorite Tracks: “Sparks”, “Beyond Love”, “Wildflower”