Monday, May 14, 2012

Beach House - Bloom (Sub Pop, 2012)

Nothing exists that is everlasting. It's debatable, but I believe that this sentiment rings more truly today than ever before. Enkindled by the immediacy of technology and, more specifically, the internet, our appetite for advancement is insatiable. Our infatuations become transient and our short attention spans overturn any assurance we may have that our current passions are eternal. If you feel that you're not of this ilk, then I envy you, in spite of my worry that if in your state my life would be limiting. This isn't to impose that our dependency on the cutting-edge will render everything temporary, but it's at least twisted the word "complacent" into an insult. If nothing is timeless, can we at least pretend?

Beach House's fourth full-length Bloom feels content in its pacing, yet frontwoman Victoria Legrand's mercurial songwriting suggests otherwise. Fluctuating from a reverberating falsetto to a sonorous croon, her voice has developed an alluring-yet-elusive dynamic. Once a melody engages the listener, it morphs into another and back again; it's verse-chorus-verse deliquesced into a protean orchestration. Repetition is prevalent, but it's masked by fluidity. Though it flows akin to seasonal change, Bloom is an essentially nocturnal pursuit.

Nightfall strikes the opening single, "Myth": guitars twinkle above steadily revolving drums, the sky is pitch black and only head- and streetlights are visible. Looking to define her emotions in the chorus, Legrand feels as lost as such scenery would leave its inhabitants. Musings of isolation are reinforced on "Other People", where she touches upon her indifference toward losing touch with others as the days pass. Alex Scally's fuzz-blanketed guitar and bending leads ink "The Hours" as the most radiant number above all, which reads less like a detour owing to Chris Coady's majestic sound-work. Even if its rays peek through the shade, they're eclipsed by dimness as "On the Sea" culminates.

Bloom flourishes, deteriorates and returns, but once its strange paradise dissipates, it feels almost ephemeral. In that sense, subsequent listens relate to the idea of music as an escapist device. Entering Beach House's celestial underpinning of impermeable atmosphere is worth reveling in, but only for so long. Hearing its 50 minutes draw to an end pronounces how impalpable this sonic microcosm is. "One in your life / It happens once and rarely twice." Do we advance, or do we go on pretending?

[Beach House Website]
[Buy Bloom from Sub Pop Records]

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