Cosmic Gratitude: Beach House delivers an unexpected gift
Beach House has brought their brand of ethereal dream pop back with a new album. No, not Depression Cherry, I’m talking new new. Thank Your Lucky Stars first wafted into our eardrums last Friday with a humble energy. Having released the critically acclaimed Depression Cherry in August this year after a slightly longer than usual breather between records, the announcement of TYLS came as an astounding but welcome surprise.
Consistency is often a word used to describe the Baltimore-based duo that has pumped out records steadily over their 11-year partnership. Thank Your Lucky Stars pushes Legrand and Scally’s releases as Beach House to an even half dozen. Fans can be hopeful that this is only the midpoint of a full carton, because thus far, all their records have been veritably good eggs. This album sees a recurrence of our favourite muggy organ murmurs and nostalgic swathes of guitar – all underscored by simplistic yet methodical drum lines. Starting off with the lazy-happy track ‘Majorette’, it’s easily to be led to believe that TYLS presents a more upbeat narrative than Depression Cherry. Delving deeper into the album, it becomes clear that this release has higher highs and lower lows; there’s an edginess that was not present before. If Depression Cherry was walking into the waves at sunset, TYLS is jogging along a cliff during a blood moon.
There are undeniable moments of hopefulness in each track. Legrand’s deep and dreamy vocals float over each of the synergistic arrangements. Even through the fragility of ‘She’s So Lovely’, there’s promise of happier times to come, albeit with a hint of hesitance. Particular high points for me include ‘All Your Yeahs’ and ‘Rough Song’, both of which balance that hopeful/hesitant dynamic that really strikes a chord with me. Lyrically, Beach House are often lofty, but ‘Common Girl’ presents a concrete and evocative character. I challenge anyone who claims they don’t have an immediate image after the line, ‘She makes movies where she cries on cue’.
‘The Traveller’ acts as a cosmic-themed prelude to the heralded ‘hallmark’ of the record, ‘Elegy to the Void’. Initially, I thought this track was a bit try-hard existentialist, but those brief, contorted clangs of guitar hit me in my core. The build is a cleansing enteric massage that gut-punches at its zenith sending the listener reeling into an expansive night sky.
This surprise release has been accused of being an over-stimulation that prevents Depression Cherry from properly percolating in the ear canals of listeners. As someone who has spent the last month and a half listening to DC on non-stop repeat in the car and throughout numerous sunset cider sessions, I was pining for fresh Beach House. So, from where I sit, I’m thanking my lucky stars.