Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 Progress Report: Beach House, Teen Dream

Welcome to the third installment of 2010 Progress Report -- thus far I've been talking up my favorite singles, but here I'm going to step off the flag and mention my favorite album of the year so far.

About 6 months ago I had no idea who Beach House was; I'd only heard the song "Gila" on a mixtape from a friend with no printed tracklist, so I didn't even know I was listening to them. I passed up the chance to see them open for Grizzly Bear in LA and went to the Noah and the Whale show instead (whose album The First Day of Spring was one of my top albums of 2009).

When the Baltimore, MD duo released the first single from this year's Teen Dream, "Norway," I wasn't totally convinced, but still curious so I bought the rest of the record. It was like going on a first date with someone and telling your friends it was sort of eh, but you wouldn't mind seeing them again if they asked. Then you go on a second and third date, and then a fourth date, and you realize they're kinda deep and smart and fragile and BAM! you start writing their name in hearts all over the post-Its in your cubicle.

I haven't been able to put this one down. There are some weeks I listen to it every day. Teen Dream is one of the rare albums I can get through without skipping more than once or twice, and it's versatile, too -- makes for a great daytime listen on half-sunny, not quite bright days, and it's good for city driving late at night. Roll the windows up and you feel like you're sitting with Victoria LeGrand, she's only singing for you. I think I read an interview once where she said these were supposed to be sultry, baby-makin' songs. Well hey, you can try that, too.

There are only 10 songs on the album, and unlike 2006's Beach House and 2008's Devotion (two other albums that deserve some words as well; post forthcoming) they do sometimes stray from the languid, downtempo "dream pop" that the band has become known (and sometimes condemned) for. The other day a co-worker friend told me he'd tried to get through some without wanting to kill himself....a fair assessment, sure, but there's so much beauty in this music -- the super simple drum machine beats paired with Alex Scally's guitar lines and the incessant organ haze, topped off by LeGrand's low, Nico-esque vocals. I'd love to hear a cover of VU's "Femme Fatale" from these guys.

**Looks like we're not allowed to link to Beach House songs, so check out this video of "Walk In The Park" from Pitchfork TV.

Bonus: Go here to watch a video of the P.S. 22 chorus singing "Zebra." Pretty awesome.


Jeff said...

Love this album. Absolutely gorgeous.

Nassir said...

we agree on assessment. top album i've heard all year.