Feature photo provided by Paulo Dourado
The Baltimore-based duo Beach House wears its heart on its Urban Outfitted sleeve. The duo’s third effort, Teen Dream, is like peeking into the diary of a teenager finding and subsequently losing her first summer love.
Through Alex Scally’s dreamy guitar and Victoria Legrand’s haunting voice, they paint a hazy, sun-drenched picture of sadness, longing and nostalgia. Their brand of dream-pop isn’t completely depressing, however, so don’t reach for that Prozac just yet. Though Teen Dream has a melancholy mood to it, Scally and Legrand manage to brighten up the album with enough twinkling keyboards and up-beat percussion to make you say, “You know what? Maybe life’s not so bad.”
“Silver Soul” in particular manages to be warm and inviting while at the same time making you want to give Legrand a hug and tell her everything will be okay. The intro to the song sounds like what a MGMT and Beach Boys collaboration might sound like: surf pop with synthesizers. While Scally is lulling you into a calming trance, Legrand hits you with the gloomy bombshell: “We gather medicine for heartache/So we can act a fool/It’s incomplete without you.” Like Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, it’s both beautiful and tragic.
One of the more up-tempo songs on the album, “Better Times,” starts with the familiar juxtaposition of light-as-a-feather instrumentals against Legrand’s husky voice. However, this time the song evolves into crashing cymbals, smooth guitar and somewhat heavier percussion. Though the lyrics speak of the realization that a relationship is coming to an end, the song still manages to stay upbeat. Along with “10 Mile Stereo,” which also pairs lyrics about a failed relationship with boisterous percussion, “Better Times” adds pep to an otherwise beautifully mellow album. Hope springs eternal, as lovers come and go.
Check out Beach House on myspace.