beach house

Beach House
Bella Union


We could have left the review just so but that would have been considered lazy or cheating – or both and anyway you’d have just thought ‘oh well he’s off again’.

But irresistible is what it is.

‘Devotion’ is the second full length from Baltimore duo Alex and Victoria who are better known to the music loving community as Beach House. If like me, at this point, you are thinking second album – what the bloody hell happened to the first (which incidentally was 2006’s self titled debut) while impatiently staring out the clock and counting down the minutes until the local record shop opens and you can get your paws on it to investigate more.

The 11 track ‘Devotion’ is quite possibly the most un-fussed and charmingly casual full length we’ve had the pleasure of hearing for a fair old while if that is you don’t count Miwa Gemini’s ’this is how I found’ and Sparky’s Magic Piano’s ’feel the beat and do it anyway’ (both of whom are highly recommended purchases for when you do go to the aforementioned record store). Succulently braided with a minimalist delivery, this soft centred treat freewheels deliciously between ghostly promenade waltzes (especially on the twinkling ‘astronaut’ with its siren -esque beckoning charms softly smitten between the lush cosmic folds of Stereolab’s more out there and chilled aspects as found on ’Cobra and Phases’) and crooked countrified carousels (‘home again’ – think Meek does Motown and Spector girl pop) that have been delicately dipped in head swirling hallucinogenic substances and left to gather dust and unearthed as archaic relics from a dimly lit loft space (best served by tuning into the gloriously surreal and exotically textured valve weighted radio set echoing ’wedding bell’).

Reference wise ’Deception’ sits somewhere between that the spectral orbits mapped out between Damon and Naomi’s 2000 collaboration with Ghost and the vintage wonderland of Shortwave Sets near perfect debut ’the debt collection’. Bleakly beautiful, Victoria’s softly trod often ethereal vocals are laden with desire shimmer and serenade atop Alex’s miniature seaside symphonies, the lilting hue of slide guitars and deftly chilled lounge like fuzzy folk psyche weave perkily eking out exotic starry sky glazes that are all at once transfixing and hypnotic. The bitter sweet misty eyed and hollowed ’heart of chambers’ with its frail budget sized re-appraisal of 60’s era John Barry dialects wraps longingly to Legrand’s forlornly emotion unravelling ebbs and flows. Elsewhere the drip dried key montages and Scally’s quietly stirring drift like twang touches that silken to the touch the underpinning canvas of ‘Gila’ coalesce sumptuously into an arresting shy eyed summer retiring shade loving 60’s styled gem in waiting while porcelain ’Darling’ leaves its lasting caress long after its departed into the ether – a heaven sent pining Valentine note cut crispy with a divinely elegant frosted 50’s sourced bubblegum wrap.

An understated and adoring gem stone that’s not so much dream pop but more reclining in a lilting haze. Nuff said.

Key tracks –

Wedding bell


published – February 5th 2008

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