Off Beat Music Guide

Album Review: Beach House’s Teen Dream January 20, 2010

Filed under: Album Review,Music,New Release — bethstephenson84 @ 7:23 pm
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If I were to compose the soundtrack to my life right now at age 25, it’s pretty much a given that Victoria Legrand would have a mighty powerful presence on that list. Her recent collaboration with Grizzly Bear on the track “Slow Life” has kept me in a dreamy trance for the past few months, impatiently awaiting some new tunes from Beach House, the band she shares with the oh-so-talented Alex Scally.

As luck would have it, NPR recently began streaming Beach House’s upcoming album, Teen Dream, on their website for all of us anxious fans who have spent the past year annoying friends and family with repeats of the same Legrand song over and over to the point where said friends and family have threatened bodily harm on the fan in question if the madness didn’t stop. Okay, so maybe that was just me.  Whatever the case, God bless NPR for finally sharing.

If I were to say the basic Beach House elements are still intact in this new album, I would strictly mean Legrand’s voice and vocal stylings are still intact. The stripped down, minimal style of Beach House albums gone by has been replaced with a smooth 80’s synth vibe that only highlights Legrand’s haunting vocals. The result is a pure pop/indie/synth sensation.

For the record, I wouldn’t dare describe Victoria Legrand’s voice as “pretty,” mostly because I think even the underlying implication of vulnerability in that word goes too much against the grain of the strength and power that her voice commands.  It feels like she’s evoking vocal powerhouses of the 1960s like Marianne Faithful with her smoky, sultry voice, and yet there’s less femininity in her sound than Faithful.

The feminine quality Legrand may lack in her vocals is more than made up for in her lyrics. This album beautifully captures the rollercoaster ride of emotions that comes with falling in and out of love. It’s bright, cheery, moody, thoughtful, exciting and lovely all at once. And yes, I realize that last sentence was extremely melodramatic, and I can only blame my growling stomach and lack of sustenance for my overuse of adjectives.

Here’s the gist: the album is good. Make sure to check out “Walk in the Park” because it’s my favorite.

Oh, and I realize that I went on and on about Victoria Legrand and sort of made a mockery of Alex Scally by leaving him out during the majority of this. Forgive me, it was completely unintentional. He’s great! Listening to the album will do him far more justice than any words I could write.

More to come later but I must eat now before my ramblings become even more incoherent than usual.

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