It’s safe to say the one of modern indie music’s most consistent groups has been generous to music geeks and listeners this year. Beach House have always been this way, releasing albums on a basis that doesn’t force listeners to wait too long and which always delivers great reception and critical acclaim. The true triumph of this is how they stay consistent to their sound while changing it just slightly enough that they are unique in their own right. Not too long ago they came out with the incredible Depression Cherry, an album that showed a darker, more cerebral, and romantically distraught side of a band known to get lost in a fever dream of love. What separated that album from their other albums, particularly Teen Dream and Bloom, was how it showed the band coming down to earth and coming to terms with reality without losing their otherworldly aura. Yet less than two months after that release Beach House are back with another album Thank Your Lucky Stars, and while people would like to be quick to point out that it’s a companion piece or a series of b-sides and extra studio tracks from the Depression Cherry recording sessions, it’s actually a separate album in its own right. It also happens to be one that stands out very well in its own right throughout it’s nearly 41 minute span.
While Beach House have toned down on their reverb to harken the sound of their earliest work, the tracks are no less ornate or riveting than their best. The album starts out with ‘Majorette’, one of the best tracks on the album along with ‘The Traveler’ and ‘Elegy to the Void.’ It’s surprising that a band that can sound so similar album to album can still be capable of crafting such uniquely potent songs as this one hits straight in the heart strings. The composition is impeccable; the chorus carries a melody that you wish would loop forever or at least a lot longer as haunting yet beautiful vocals envelop the chords. Also, this slight extra sound effect of what is presumably more vocal echoing (listen with hi-fi headphones for this) just perfectly lifts the chorus up near the tail end to the right part of heaven. Obviously Beach House still know how to craft songs with a similar attention to nuance of that of Cocteau Twins or My Bloody Valentine.
The other tracks are good in their own right, but rather than stick out they tend to create ambience and atmosphere. That’s not to say that they are filler, but rather that they serve as a blanket that the best tracks can cozy themselves up in. This is great as it means that the album can build up to certain moments despite its lack of a specific direction. That lack of direction and their tendency to repeat themselves however is one of the albums few flaws, as you can only do that so often until the results end up flat like soda pop that’s lost its carbonation. Yet then again these complaints only matter so much. Beach House don’t need to prove themselves right now as they already have with their past three albums and haven’t necessarily dropped a bad release. That’s the beauty of Beach House, their sound is so steady and unique that they don’t have to change too much to create a solid project for the time being. But while it would be interesting to see Beach House switch up their sound and stray out of their comfort zone in the future to avoid becoming a caricature, all we can do now is sit back and get lost in the clouds of gothic smoke that they have formed.