Artist: Beach House
Most of the time when I think about high school my mind drifts to one specific girl. She was an extremely quiet, church going type who couldn’t have been more opposite on me. Her words would sneak out in whispers, lingering so close to her body that a person would often find themselves in a struggle to catch them before they hit the floor. In hindsight I realized that the rarity of her sentences often lead to a unique quality in a person. Her choice to spend her life in the background resulted in a beauty that is rarely found in humanity. To this day, I regret ignoring that quality.
This rule also applies to music.
Beach House is hands down the industry’s great example of that. Under a microscope and picked apart like the carcass of a vulture’s dinner, Beach House’s latest effort Bloom can easily be dismissed. When viewed from the wrong angle, the album is seen as wandering towards depressive and ignorable. Any listener could easily write Bloom off as a complete failure.
At first, I was absolutely that listener. I also was absolutely wrong.
Once I put down the pen and cleared my writers desk of any distractions, I was finally able to listen to this album as it was truly intended; without judgement. Suddenly, everything fell perfectly into place. The album’s whimsical and majestic aura floods the room in a way I have only seen a few accomplish (St. Vincent, The Flaming Lips and The Polyphonic Spree for example). All the key elements of an atmospheric album are accounted for. The driving drums push forward the tweeked piano and perfectly selected synthesizers. The guitar hooks repeat like clockwork, looping at just the right angle to leave a lasting impression on your soul. The blend of these features fuses together an album so indie, it reeks of the elements that make hipster ladies love beards.
However, the most driving aspect of bloom is the blatant manner is which a heart is breaking. Throughout the course of the album, the story and the plot shift systematically from the loss of love to the struggling attempts to glue the remaining pieces back together to salvage a life. Placed perfectly over the instrumentation, the vocals not only ooze pain, but beg for sympathy. Honestly, in my opinion, if you can stream through Bloom without a willingness to give the band a hug, your heart has never been shattered. Every word that spills out of the speaker is not only real, but tragic. The honesty involved in this album is absolutely unable to be created from fiction. These songs are someone’s soul on the mix.
For that reason alone, Bloom hits me right in the face. There is no room to deny Beach House the credit they deserve. This album will not only stand out as their best to date, but should in all logical circles be held to the standards it deserves among peers and composition. Without question, this album as a whole near the top to hit the shelves in 2012. If listened to from beginning to end, there is nothing here by brilliance.
Thankfully, I was lucky enough to adjust my point of view and hear their softly spoken word instead of ignoring the most beautiful girl in class, just because she was unconventional.
Review written by: Josh Hammond