Review: Beach House embrace unforgiving rebirth on ‘7’
Beach House | 7 | Bella Union / Sub Pop
Release date: May 11th 2018
Review by Jenna Dreisenstock
A golden lyrical weave; sunlight winding, grasping like vines, a stunning bloom of melancholia sewing flowers in // out and around each rib, growing and wilting with the heaving of saltwater lungs and lullaby wounds. Finding a home within the rubble, sprouting and building with each seedling; allowing the flow of oneself to speak, to love in the face of darkness and cry with the overwhelm of joy. To stand amongst the destruction and know that something new will eventually arise – to stand amongst creation, to watch life thrive and break apart – to accept that everything created in love, or in fear, will too one day be torn down. And something else will take its place. The cycle goes on. To be continued.
The difficulty in allowing oneself to just exist. To expose oneself. To let go of habits and methods, of comfortable routines and perspectives; to open one’s eyes again and again – each flutter a new world, a breathless heartbeat in excitement and in anxiety. To allow oneself to be vulnerable. In their seventh album, aptly titled 7, famed American dream-pop duo Beach House explore what it means to be vulnerable- to allow their sound to flow from within, to break from traditional routine and present a rawness, knees scraped and fists bleeding – in a saccharine dream. In 7, members Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have stepped away from traditional limitations which were self-imposed on writing past albums; letting go of routine and allowing new methods of writing to flow, Beach House have allowed themselves a rebirth – abandoning the typical for an embrace of their own introspection. By Legrand and Scally setting up their own home studio for experimentation, instead of recording in a professional studio all at once – they allowed their personal reflections and heavy truths to speak. Without imposing a limitation on their sound to fit live shows, Beach House have broken away and allowed for new experimentation in personality and sound: and in doing so, Beach House have allowed for an aching, rawness in their sound, so sweet in melancholia it pains one to the core; in kindness, in loveliness and in searing truth.
Honey in glimmer and glow, heart-string tender; the seep of broken, rainbow-and-tear-shattered evening air. Glittering in kind on rain-struck windows, a stuttering car-engine nostalgia in forward momentum. ‘Dark Spring‘ the first track of the album, sleeps in soft palms, the bittersweet clutch of the wheel embroidered in reflection, ambition – the illusion of direction in fast motion – I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m going. Passenger seat gaze; the holding of ones own hands, clutch the warmth of the self and sugar wounds of the body – each memory leaving but always staying, playing in a theatre on the frosted window haze. City-scape glittering cold and joy, passing of the light in the tiny souls of stunning bokeh. “Dark Spring” revels in a confident opening, flashing lights in the ether of hazey, lens-flare and sweet angst of layered guitars; the sweep in gentle distortion yet stride in confidence, a sadness in leaving and wistful loving in return. The velveteen in syrup-glazed vocals hold delicate in accompanying embrace. Glittering loneliness in holding-back-the-tears guitars; a wall of percussive sound and spherical engulf, speaking in the sultry comfort of adoring shoegaze, coloured in frosted icing of post-rock loneliness and dream-pop kindness.
‘L’Inconnue‘ sings in cherish, a treasure flutter opening in hues of emerald and sapphire waves. Vocal harmonies in ambient loneliness and the dripping melancholia of golden ‘I love you’s’ weeping gracefully in angelic gentleness; her youth slumbering deep within the ribcage of each pillow on which she cried, and buried herself. Sickness in the sternum, as each little body warps into pillars of salt; Lot’s wife gazed back in longing, in what was once said a manner so human: yet in fear and paranoia, we lose our humanity; she’s so beautiful when she screams. In our bodies as salt pillars they take hold, as all we are seeps within ourselves. Spectral phantasm in a world in which womxn are to be seen and not heard, ‘L’Inconnue‘ explores a central theme within the album; female oppression, trauma – each bruise in which another girl’s youth, another girls growth, is buried alive in a hell of resistance. Liberated voices in waiting. Legrands vocals sting in holy shimmer as she reflects, heart shatter in French;
“Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept
Toutes les filles ne sont pas pretes
Vers l’eglise et vers la Seine
Toute leurs coeurs et toute leur peine”
“One, two, three,
four, five, six, seven
All the girls are not ready
To church and to the Seine
All their hearts and all their sorrows.”
The purity of pain in textural world building, the sweetness of sadness sings laments in the candy-choke of electronic, dreamy timbre. The chill of a longing prayer, Legrands vocals dance reminiscent of artists such as Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead. The siren song of a drenched synth cries in closed eye Mesmer, a purity in heartbeat with steady percussive and climactic, harsh reality in introspection:
“Petit ange et l’inconnue
Sainte, la pute et l’ingenue
un, deux, trois,
quatre, cinq, six, sept
Toutes les filles ne sont pas pretes”
“Little angel and the unknown,
Holy, the whore and the ingenuous
One, two, three,
four five six, seven
All the girls are not ready.”
The gut wrench in her embrace, promises in which we hold her, we tell her, we hope for her and protect her. In childhood lost, in adulthood seeping candy trauma;
“Little girl, you could be loved
Little girl, you should be loved
The moment you say you know
Is the moment you are”
Beautiful when she screams; snarling beasts ready to pounce in liberation.
Upbeat heartbeat spinning in golden afternoon ‘Dive‘ shines summer synth-pop in greeting, two, three sugars in the swirl of iced tea; sunrise stroked chords in a sunbathing ambience, the duo’s vocals floating in the soothe of light. A loneliness in blooming sunflowers, peering over the waters edge in which to see themselves for the first time – the new sprouts, and the seeds that never sprung. A recognition of oneself in another – the shimmering distortion of self-awareness as we dip our feet into waters edge, to still the waves and stop the flow, to see clearly. A bare-handed mould into fast-paced tempo; the hypnotic ambience drenched in sunny loveliness and longing, seamlessly weaves into a fast-paced, splash refresh beat, headed in confident guitars and driven percussion; the impulse to dance, rip off the clothes and restrictions and jump in baring our bodies, our hearts and minds. A let go in kaleidoscopic reflection and ambition, playful curiosity swimming progressive. Embracing the golden sun as it lowers into its everyday darkness; in the nighttime, the daytime always sings somewhere else. A spark cries out.
“In eyes, lost in confusion
Golden hearts, left all illusion
Is it my imagination?
Shadow, flicker creation.”
Opening in synth-wave splendor, ‘Woo‘ introduces itself in textural modulation, swirling in electronica sci-fi timbre; hovering in experimental, extraterrestrial auditory warp – I Want To Believe shimmering in soundscape, the flight of UFO alienation caressing dream-pop haze in new-wave nostalgia and oscillation. Celestial vocals glide, levitate in dreamscape; glittering stars in twilight, the desperate search in desolation for a sign of new life – gazing through lenses muddied and blurred, the colliding planets in her chest, dying stars that look and scream like gods. Sickeningly sweet in longing, her palms clasp sparks too big for the universe to hold; eating her alive, a radiance in the fire she holds between her fingertips – enough to tear the world in two, to tear herself in two, to explode and breathe in the final death of the lullaby stars.
“I can’t keep you there
You will braid your hair
Throw it everywhere
You don’t give a fuck
You break all the rules.”
Twinkling in layers of post-rock-esque guitars, glittering melodies and textural harmonies in honey-baked glaze; a traverse into the unknown, her growth, breaking free from shackles in tenderness and assertiveness. Destruction in her form of creation. A wall of sound stunning in distortion, the alien bodies as foundations in a lush new world; dotted with samples of girls laughter in “Woo”s hypnotic bloom.
7 swirls in the bittersweet; the slit of sugar in the wound, blood drip choking in the bound, but bandaged and kissed tenderly as it stings. Of broken bones, lovingly embroidered in handmade clothing – wearing one’s heart on the sweetly woven sleeve. Fluttering eyelashes filled with slumber in morning sun // makeup dripping black and irises soaked in raw and red – eyes swelling in catharsis, waking from a dream and the moment in which reality sets back in. Dust moats in waking humidity, reflections in swimming pool glimmer in the back of your childhood home. Of loving, and of never thinking about those you once loved. In the seascape beauty of this world, rich in colour and life; the endless possibilities, yet a slow rising sea fills with plastic, with glass and toxicity: each breath a choking hazard. In 7, Beach House have delicately sculpted their auditory vision of the realities of this world, in letting go of restrictions and holding onto liberations; the crash and settle of radiance in their dreamscape, cries difficult yet beautiful truths in exposing themselves, the glow after the tears have flowed and the smile that will follow beneath the swell of red eyes.
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