Depression Cherry is Beach House’s fifth album and they return to a more simple, melodic feel while continuing to change their sound as they go. Subtracted down to fewer instruments, Beach House keep their dreamy, otherworldly, dream-pop feeling as they pick you up and gently carry you away.
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If you didn’t like ‘Bloom’, that’s okay: I don’t think Beach House did either. The dreamer duo’s last record amped up their sound and stretched it out against a widescreen; where their combinative organ/guitar melodies used to melt into each-other, they now crashed under the weight of expectation and, um, real drums, clamouring towards the best choruses rather than shrugging their way to them. ‘Bloom’ rocked the boat, but who wants anything but plain sailing from indie rock’s chillest band?
‘Depression Cherry’ seems to have repressed every bad memory ‘Bloom’ brought to the surface: no more theatrics for sold-out shows, no more fucking live drums, just the call-and-response of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, two artists seeking a perfect solution for their whispered pop music -- on their own, barely audible terms. If it sounds subdued at first, it’s because the band are actively doubling down, trying to make everything sound like its own minute incident: let’s start at the end of all things and say “Days of Candy” is the best example, punctuating a downcast piano ballad with drums as tinny as sprinklers turning on. “Space Song” does what the band did best on ‘Teen Dream’: guitar riffs curl around organs and vice versa at the tempo of a long hug. All modulations, all flourishes, are momentary gasps: the little, Krautish melody that ascends on this song’s tail-end is gone before you can do shit with it.
There’s one moment of real pantomimic furore, and it comes early, the metal-inspired riffs of “Sparks” combining with a shoegazed vocal choir: the way the duo sustain the song’s high drama only serves to make it feel as monochrome as the rest of the record, part of their patient, streamlined dogma. Hearing them play out this song is like hearing them try to tame ‘Bloom’ for themselves, which feels like the mission statement of ‘Depression Cherry’: make an amazing record, but weigh each song as an equal partner of it. I’ll go ahead and say they don’t quite succeed, because “PPP” is a knockout: it winds gorgeous guitar riffs and the most adorable love song the band have ever crafted, kissing it off with verses, choruses, bridges and outros that could each be considered the hook.
It’s the best Beach House song, on one of their most deceptively interesting records. No drama: let's just have one nice day.
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- Depression Cherry by Beach House
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