Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 1/9/10.
When Beach House released their self-titled debut in the fall of 2006, the Baltimore duo captured the attention of the underground along with critics in the indie music scene. The duo, that includes vocalist/organ player Victoria Legrand and guitarist/keyboardist Alex Scally, also toured in support of the album where it raised more attention as in early 2008, the band released their sophomore album that broadened their dream-pop sound entitled Devotion. Devotion is an album where the band takes their sound to darker, ethereal heights. With all the songs written by Victoria Legrand with the exception of one which is a cover of a Daniel Johnston song. The album is a chilling yet spellbinding record that puts Beach House into a new stratosphere.
The album opener Wedding Bell is led by a soft, sweeping sound of percussions with a slow, thumping bass drum with melodic guitar swirls that accompanies Victoria Legrand's hollow, dream-like vocals. Featuring esoteric lyrics and a droning guitar solo, it's an enchanting song with wails of hypnotic keyboard chimes. You Came To Me is a haunting ballad led by Scally's melodic keyboard chimes with water-drop rhythmic beats that accompanies Legrand's ethereal vocals singing chilling lyrics. With bass-pounding drums emerging with Legrand's vocals presented with multi-track backing vocals, it's a rich yet hypnotic track. Gila is a slow, mid-tempo track with a thumping beat and Scally's rich, arpeggio-laden guitar as Legrand sings the song with her eerie yet ethereal vocals. The song's lyrics is filled with lush imagery in this mesmerizing song that includes Legrand playing a soothing organ track.
Turtle Island is a haunting track led by a chilling, pounding beat with a swooning organ track accompanying Legrand's dreamy yet evocative vocals. Featuring some mystical lyrics, the song's arrangements is filled by chime-like keyboards and soothing bass lines that would later be followed by ringing guitar spurts and Legrand's wailing vocals. Holy Dances is led by arpeggio guitar chimes with a smooth, tapping rhythm with slow tambourine hits as Legrand sings with her hollow yet hypnotic vocals. Featuring some esoteric lyrics and the song's tempo picking up a bit, the song's richness is heightened by its layered, atmospheric production. All The Years is led by swirling sounds of keyboard chimes with swooning guitar slides and a wailing organ track. Legrand's vocals take charge with some nostalgic yet imagery-laden lyrics that is heightened by its somber yet blazing production on the keyboards.
Heart Of Chambers is a slow, mid-tempo track with thumping beats and twangy, chime-like guitar riffs as Legrand's vocals lead the way as it features some cryptic yet haunting lyrics. With Legrand's vocals intensifying a bit, so does Scally's performance on the guitar. Next is a cover of Daniel Johnston's Some Things Last A Long Time that was co-written with Jad Fair. Featuring a smooth, thumping bass line and melodic guitar arpeggios with hollow, pounding beats. Legrand sings the song's childlike lyrics with her chilling yet soaring vocals as it is followed by swirling keyboard chimes. Astronaut is an atmospheric track with soft beats and swirling keyboards with a melodic synthesizer track accompanying the instrumentation. Legrand's dreamy vocals take charge with its spacey lyrics that includes a droning, twangy guitar solo as it maintains its calm yet ethereal tone.
DARLING opens with soft, wailing keyboards and chime-like, arpeggio-laden guitars as Legrand sings with her hollow yet dream-like vocals. Featuring some chilling yet cryptic lyrics, the song is led by Legrand's vocals and Scally's evocative, layered arrangements of guitars and synthesizers as it maintains its haunting tone. The album closer Home Again is a mid-tempo track with thumping beats and shaking percussions with a swooning organ track as Legrand sings calmly with its esoteric lyrics and subtle arrangements.
Devotion is a mesmerizing yet stunning album from Beach House. Fans of the first album will no doubt be amazed by the broader sound the band created along with its production. It is also one of the more overlooked albums to come out in 2008 as their upcoming third album is widely anticipated thanks to Victoria Legrand's vocal contributions to a couple of songs for the indie band Grizzly Bear. For anyone looking for some great dream-pop, Beach House's Devotion is the record to get.
(C) thevoid99 2011