Beach House get to the stage in their career where they name the album after how many records they have released. So 7 is their 7th record and shows a bit of a creative rebirth for a band who never seem to stop. They had a more fluid way of working with this one which has taken them into new areas particularly as they were helped along the way by Pete Kember (Sonic Boom).
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As if this band needed to get any more content. Naming their record with a shrug, Beach House have ditched the sonically driving, well-sequenced widescreen of recent records ‘Bloom’ and ‘Depression Cherry’, offering something of a sound-sample primer for a band that now does what it wants from within its liminal aesthetic. They no longer need try; bigger and afforded more space than ever, the well-established Beach House sound now exists in a series of subtly inventive vignettes.
‘7’ was made by forging a new production partnership with Spacemen 3’s Peter Kember (don’t make me type it), and here the duo’s usual disquieting whispers, screeching guitars and organ-synth bombast move through cavernous realms, sounding open where ‘Depression Cherry’ was merely open to the idea, like the ambition of ‘Bloom’ with the lid ripped off. Though these songs can sound content, they sound it underneath a dark sky cluttered with stars, the twinkling acoustic guitars and piano of “Pay No Mind” housed in the great outdoors of galaxy.
Kember’s work opens up the dichotomy of Beach House’s sound perfectly -- the pre-eminent chill it’s always carrying is here well matched with the course it cruises through into waters of unknown dread. “Drunk In LA” is perfect, in this regard: it never skips over a moment, each sound beholden to the blaring, glowing organ sound but still landing like a pindrop; those programmed drums sound like pinches of air blowing in the dark. The sizzling acid of “Lemon Glow” presents Beach House as the same band who made “Sparks” or “New Year”, but splintering into bizarre paintings of themselves, mumbling their usual romances underneath wobble and wonder.
Unlike ‘Depression Cherry’, this record doesn’t roll off the tongue: its uncaring sequencing and distantly related songcraft makes for an anthology, a bunch of songs that need parsing in their own sonic dialect. Playing with textures and ideas that range from ambient, balearic, acidic and trad-pop, the duo give their slow-turning indie pop new possible worlds. You have to visit each of them to really start enjoying ‘7’, but in time this might prove one of their most special records.
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