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Album review: Beach House's 'Bloom'

May 14, 2012 |  4:05 pm

Album review: Beach House's 'Bloom'
Few albums begin with such a clear mission statement as the opening lines of Beach House's “Bloom,” the fourth album from the enchantingly sleepy duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. “Drifting,” sings Legrand, her voice detached, calm and cool, “in and out.” It's hard to think of a more pointed word than drifting for Beach House, as the band approaches a melody with hypnotic, spinning-in-place guitars and radiant keyboards.

Guitars don't sound strummed so much as bowed, and percussion, even when recorded live, has a warm, chamber-hall-ready aura. “Bloom” is right in Beach House's comfort zone, one that continues to echo twilight mood-setters Mazzy Star.

A track such as “New Year” takes the sound into more otherworldly territory, as verses seem to bend and twist rather than unfold. “On the Sea” brings a bit of classical polish into orbit and “The Hours” is all harmonic mystery. Legrand's vocals hover over the instrumentation and linger over the notes, and Scally builds a world around her that slowly ensnares. 

It all makes for a lovely lullaby of an album, but it just doesn't result in many songs. Album closer “Irene” fades to black at about the seven-minute mark and stays silent for about another six, yet this album is so soft and quiet that one could be forgiven for not even noticing. Elsewhere, the immaculate guitar flourishes of “Wild” ebb into the electronic twinkle of “Lazuli” and like the most perfect of background music, it’s easy to forget they’re even there.

Beach House
“Bloom”
Sub Pop
Two and a half stars (Out of four) 

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— Todd Martens

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