Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand have returned much faster than anticipated with their sixth album 'Thank Your Lucky Stars'; an album no one expected considering the steady output Beach House have had over their career. 'Depression Cherry', their fifth album, arrived at the end of August 2015, and now another has already appeared out from the woodwork to everyone's surprise and excitement. 'Depression Cherry' remains the best Beach House album to date; it follows the gradual progression Beach House have managed to achieve in the refinement of their sound, reaching grand theatrical heights through their typically melancholic sentiments concerning the sadness of pleasure and the pleasure of sadness. In bold contrast, 'Thank Your Lucky Stars', recorded around the same time, is a slightly more stripped back and dare one say more sombre album. It's also absolutely fantastic, but as much as it hurts to say it, sometimes too much of a good thing can be its own undoing.
Although the band have asserted their view that these albums are their own entities entirely, it is near impossible not to make comparisons. So here goes. 'Depression Cherry' is a demonstration of their technical prowess. With it's emotional, moody atmosphere it almost ingratiates itself as a landmark in your life, wielding fleeting intangibility through its shoegaze walls of bliss drenched noise.
'Thank Your Lucky Stars', on the other hand, is their most personal album to date. The most notable difference with it is the lack of cathedral-like reverb swallowing the record like many of their prior releases. The lyrics are more direct than they've ever been, playing as a focal point throughout the album instead of being a complementary asset to their swirling sounds. It also harbours their most conventionally structured songs since their debut album. 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' finds Beach House in slightly darker territory, it is an intimate listen, and totally stripped back. 'One Thing' finds them experimenting with an almost Velvet Underground influence, and 'Common Girl' could easily be placed as one of the highlights on their self-titled debut. However, the album's stand-out track is 'Elegy to the Void', which is possibly one of the best songs the band has ever released. We find Beach House at their most death-obsessed with beautiful imagery wrapped within a beautifully building sonic journey while Legrand coos, "To your sons and daughters/ Bending at the altar/ Disappearing in the mirror" within its chorus.
This is still a Beach House album at its core, the familiarity of its sentimental lyrics bathed in gorgeous reverb is still definitive of their sound. The timing of these releases being so close to one another may throw most fans, simply because they are used to the album cycle mirroring their personal situations in life, and thus the releases become definitive records for that. Maybe in a few months time, once both 'Depression Cherry' and 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' have been able to breathe, it'll be easier to reflect upon them individually. Yes, too much of a good thing can fall flat, but to challenge even that notion, too much of a good thing in Beach House's case is just a little bit overwhelming.
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