The latest record from Baltimore based duo Beach House is their best and most complete yet. Teen Dream is just that, a dream of a record that rekindles the tender wide-eyed sentiment of a teenager open and ready for the world ahead.
To hail an album a possible contender for best of the year lists when we are barely halfway through January is audacious, but Beach House’s third LP warrants the accolades. Where the Baltimore duo’s previous albums were buttressed by a handful of standout tracks, Teen Dream offers an even feed of steady-tempo blissful dream-pop; its allure builds with each listen.
Following the sedate tradition of Mazzy Star and Galaxie 500, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally combine circling organs with plaintive guitar and languid vocals. It’s the compositional attention and elegant, layered arrangements that show their new ambition at play. Legrand’s voice has become more engaging, its languorous depth both seductive and ethereal, lending the album an intimate feel.
Each arrangement is polished to precision: the final third of “Used To Be” abruptly strips back the instrumentation to a spare interweaving of arpeggiating guitar and keyboard, and airy vocals of intoxicating, dreamy beauty. “Coming home, any day now,” sings Legrand. Having refined their craft to such a level, if Beach House are going to reach out to a wider audience, it will be now.
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