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Beach House - Depression Cherry (Album Review)

Friday, 28 August 2015 Written by Ben Bland

How do you solve a problem like Beach House? Adored by an ever-growing cult fanbase, and by many critics, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have been crafting consistently gorgeous dream pop for a decade now. Their last three albums, ‘Devotion’, ‘Teen Dream’ and ‘Bloom’, have almost single-handedly proved that there is still life in a genre that was beginning to look irrelevantly twee even during its late '80s/early '90s heyday.

The one issue with Beach House, however, has always been their failure to look outside the box, a tendency to eschew musical development in favour of staying in their comfort zone. On ‘Depression Cherry’, their fifth full-length, there is some evidence that they have attempted to deal with this roadblock.

This is still recognisably the same band, but there are small changes to the Beach House sound that occasionally threaten to take the duo in a new direction.

A relatively prominent drone is the glue that holds opener Levitation together, Sparks features some uncharacteristically edgy guitar work, while Beyond Love and 10:37 are unusually sparse, lacking much of the organ/guitar combination they are usually so dependent on.

These subtle alterations are intriguing, but it does feel like they are never allowed to take over the songs to which they are attached. Whenever it appears Beach House might be about to break new ground, Legrand and Scally retreat back into an anthemic chorus or a gentle lullaby hook.

The irony is that by introducing new facets into their sound so subtly, Beach House have only drawn more attention to the fact that little in the way of fundamental development has occurred at all. This does not stop ‘Depression Cherry’ being a perfectly enjoyable listen, albeit one that never threatens to reach the sublime heights of ‘Teen Dream’. It does, however, mean that this is an album that seems to consciously undersell Beach House’s creative potential.

Altogether, ‘Depression Cherry’ appears more underwhelming than any of its illustrious predecessors, even if such a verdict is probably undeserved due to Beach House’s continued knack for producing excellent songs.

Beach House Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat October 24 2015 - BELFAST Mandela Hall
Sun October 25 2015 - DUBLIN Vicar Street
Mon October 26 2015 - GLASGOW O2 ABC
Tue October 27 2015 - MANCHESTER Ritz
Fri October 30 2015 - LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Sat October 31 2015 - LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

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