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Monday, February 15, 2010

Track of the Day: Beach House's Springtime Soundtrack

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 8:18 AM

click to enlarge JASON NOCITO
  • Jason Nocito
Last weekend was a beachy one in San Francisco. It finally felt like spring with all that sunshine, the Mavericks surf competition took over a couple bars and many conversations, and fun parties at surfy shops Mollusk and General Store Saturday night only added to the sandy lifestyle vibe. But my strongest longings for lounging oceanside came from listening to Teen Dream, the new record by Baltimore duo Beach House.



On their third release, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are still in a dream pop state of mind. And at first listen, that floaty aesthetic makes Teen Dream sound almost too airy, like the songs could drift from memory the minute they finish. The delicate harmonies and warm, gentle synths don't command attention as much as they relax you into the group's sound. The single that really turned the listening experience around for me, though, was "Norway," (which you can download for free from Sub Pop here). The guitar lines warble slightly, as if warped in the sun, and Legrand's breathy vocals give the song momentum, creating a staccato rhythm that builds as the tune moves along. Meanwhile Scally's languid vocals disguise easy meaning but allow for some interesting visuals ("a hunter for a lonely heart in the season of the sun..."). All the pieces mingle elegantly here, with washes of synth giving the single a cozy electronic glow. 

Thanks to "Norway," I've gone back over (and over) Teen Dream, realizing Beach House is a band that coaxes with subtle arrangements. Instead of letting you go too easily, the song and the record romance you with soft focus-pop, and one you start paying attention to details you don't want to let go. It's gotten to where I'm now counting the days until the pair's Bimbo's show on April 14. 

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Ian S. Port

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