"It's a strange paradise," Victoria LeGrand sings at one point on Beach House's fourth album Bloom, and there isn't a more apt description of the beautifully heartbroken mood that she and Alex Scally create here. Reuniting with Teen Dream engineer Chris Coady, the duo designed the album to be listened to as a whole, and fittingly, it often feels more like a suite than a collection of songs. This ambition is admirable, but it also means that it takes a while for individual moments to emerge from the album's beautiful haze. Indeed, Bloom may be Beach House's most sonically gorgeous album yet, with an icy sheen that doesn't warm up much, even when recordings of locusts and seagulls show up between tracks; it's easy to imagine LeGrand exhaling clouds of mist while singing the backing vocals on "Lazuli." While the endearing, sometimes awkward intimacy of Beach House's earlier work -- which felt like LeGrand was crooning confessions over creaky, vintage keyboards and drum machines just for you -- is missed, Bloom's shimmering remoteness enhances the album's philosophical, searching approach to love and loss. It's a mood and setting perfect for LeGrand's vocals, which have never sounded richer or more world-weary: "What comes after this momentary bliss? Help me to name it," she calls out on the opening track "Myth," a sentiment echoed later by "Wishes," where she wonders, "How's it supposed to feel?" Emotional moments such as these take their time to emerge, but when they do, they're riveting, particularly on "Troublemaker," which recalls Beach House's previous albums in its delicate dance between sad, stark verses and more hopeful choruses, and on the beautifully resigned "Irene," where a whimsical keyboard melody offsets and underscores the feeling of loss at the same time. Since Bloom's suite-like flow downplays Beach House's poppy side (with the notable exceptions "Other People" and "The Hours"), it's not the band's most immediate music, but the album's challenging mix of heartbroken words and aloof sounds rewards patient and repeated listening.
Performance CreditsBeach House Primary Artist
Joe Cueto Viola
Alex Scally Organ,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Group Member
Victoria Legrand Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member
Daniel Franz Percussion,Drums
Technical CreditsChris Coady Producer,Engineer
Brooks Harlan Engineer
Beach House Producer
Alex Scally Arranger,Composer
Victoria Legrand Arranger,Composer,Lyricist
Daniel Franz Programming
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bloom based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This album certainly has one of the most compelling covers I've seen in a while. Then there's the music, which is also compelling. Beach House, which consists of singer Victoria LeGrand and multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally, create a dreamy kind of music that's part 1980's synth-music and part Shins-style indie pop. Although it sounds like they're working with Casiotones and drum machines most of the time, Beach House's album, "Bloom" has a grand sense of melancholy style that holds onto you. Granted, it's hard to tell what "Myth" and "Lazuli" are about. However, when LeGrand's airy vocals come forth in catchy tunes like "Other People" and the hypnotic closer, "Irene", it doesn't seem to matter (even if the lyric sheet on the CD is done backwards). While their subject matter is somewhat downbeat, Beach House's simple yet dense musings are surely welcome at a time when so much of today's pop music is overdone. And then, there's that cover...