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Beach House - Once Twice Melody (Album Review)

Wednesday, 23 February 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

Baltimore duo Beach House claim to have taken their art to a new level with the release of eighth LP ‘Once Twice Melody’. Technically it’s not a new collection, though, having been released in four separate chapters since November 2021, with the inclusion of the final segment here completing the whole.

The band have spoken about the confines of a 10 song album consisting of four-minute tracks, and that they wanted their next outing to be something different. Strangely, though, 15 of the whopping 18 cuts here are between three and five minutes, with the double LP clocking in at a lengthy 84 minutes.

In a kiss-me-quick modern day streaming culture, albums are not the prime commodity they once were, so it seems odd that Beach House would launch a project like this knowing full well that their chances of fully engaging the public to the degree that their own self-indulgence demands is slim.

The four chapters work well on their own, each one containing some of their best work to date. The exception, perhaps, is the rather timid final chapter, which sees the collection as a whole fizzle out somewhat. 

The title track and album opener encapsulates the project’s palette: it’s glistening, pretty, but occasionally overbearing at its beautiful, unexciting core. Equally, Pink Funeral and Through Me offer nothing more than floaty, ethereal, directionless pleasantries. That said, some of the highlights at various points are things of sheer wonder.

Superstar from chapter one is huge—its motorik beat drives a blissful moment that recalls Cigarettes After Sex. Runaway, from chapter two, benefits from a stunning backdrop and decorative synths as things pick up once more. New Romance threatens to wash over you without leaving much of an impression, and yet those synths underpinning the track are gorgeous. The next highlight is the sublime Over And Over—seven minutes sounds a long time for a track that is essentially identical to everything that surrounds it but it isn’t at all, never outstaying its welcome.

The excellent Masquerade provides one of the easiest moments to commit to memory with a darker, Ladytron-like base that leads to an extremely catchy chorus, but there is a considerable amount of filler before closing track Modern Love Stories conjures a cinematic experience that ensures the last moments float away serenely rather than petering out.

Despite containing several utterly delightful moments, ‘Once Twice Melody’ will probably be too much for one sitting unless you stick it on, forget about it and just tune in for the more memorable sections. As such, it probably sits better as four releases rather than one entity and, dare we say it, as a playlist of sorts.

Beach House Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat May 21 2022 - DUBLIN National Stadium
Mon May 23 2022 - GLASGOW Barrowland Ballroom
Tue May 24 2022 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Thu May 26 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

Compare & Buy Beach House Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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