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Beach House's "Teen Dream" album review


Album Blends Dreamy Ambience with Beautiful Melancholy

Teen Dream
Beach House
[Sub Pop]

Teen Dream, the third full-length album from dream-pop duo Beach House, embraces the air implied their name – music infused with bright, intimate, anthemic lyrics and tempered with tranquil rhythms.

Victoria Legrand's voice lulls listeners through the album with a sultry haze and purposely buries itself within the track's instruments. Her vocals are carefully interwoven with soft organ synths and casual guitar rhythms, and neither overpower the music, nor allow it to hang sheepishly in its background. Victoria's prolonged, rhythmic, and positive melodies are juxtaposed with verses of longing and teenaged lost love.

The strength to the album lies partly in the beautifully woven interplay between the group's upbeat melodies, dreamscape-inspired instrumentals, and Victoria's beautifully somber lyrics. In "Walk in the Park," for example, the duo intimately navigates through sanguine melodies, and lyrics bittersweetly blend with bright crescendos, asserting to the listener, with a bold anthemic quality, that "the world that you love to behold cannot hold you anymore."

And in "Better Times," the intimate turmoil of a dark relationship asks us, with unabashed simplicity, "How much longer can you play with fire before you turn into a liar?" as lazy summer rhythms guide us through layers of carefully-structured drawn-out chords.

Steady lazy summer-afternoon soft beats form the backbone for the entrancing interplay between melody and music in Teen Dream. Sustained organ synths guide the listener through a smooth landscape of simple, repeating, and original melodies that build upon the album's strength. Seamless transitions between tracks, along with the prominent underlying organ and ethereal guitar rhythms further contribute to the general ambient tone of the record, as well as to its cohesiveness.

Teen Dream is an album without discernible fillers, though at times- and probably at first listen- structurally monotonous, the album lends itself to a soft richness of sound that at once entrances listeners with its rhythm and melodies, leaving us with a uniquely-felt melancholic sensation of a clouded summer afternoon.

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