Release Date: 15 May 2012
Much of the power of Beach House's music lies in the way it forgoes simple, this-means-this storytelling in favor of communicating indescribable emotions. Still, Bloom has a definite thematic fascination with idle youth and the bittersweet residue that remains once it's gone. "Troublemaker" looms with the threat of bad romance, and the brazen, epic "Wild"-- one of their best songs yet-- conjures teenage feelings of boredom, broken homes ("Our father won't come home, 'cause he is seeing double"), and the inordinate amounts of faith placed in the things that take someone out of those particular hells ("That's when your car pulls up, its hood is black and gleaming"). Legrand's ethereal contralto huffs so much life into her lines that even lyrics that look plain on the page take flight. Throughout, Legrand and Scally sound in perfect sync: his nimble riffs punctuate her long, drawn-out notes to add depth and layered rhythm to the tracks.
Toward the end comes a mid-tempo, quietly spectacular song called "Wishes", on which Legrand sings about "the moment when a memory aches." It might be tempting to call that feeling nostalgia. But the sort of nostalgia Bloom employs feels so distant from the definition that word has taken on lately when we talk about music. What they do feels not just wonderfully self-contained but improbably intimate: It's a huge testament to Legrand and Scally that, although they're one of the most popular bands in the indiesphere at the moment, their music still has the hushed air of an overheard secret.
Filmmakers call the part of the day right before the sun goes down "the magic hour." It's that brief moment when the waning daylight causes everything to take on a holy, hazy glow. It took Terrence Malick about a year to shoot his 1978 movie Days of Heaven because he insisted on filming only during this time of day, but the results perfectly capture and distend that dizzy, overripe feeling of right before something very good ends. Bloom does that, too. "What comes after this momentary bliss?" Legrand wonders on "Myth". It's a question Beach House don't seem interested in answering any time soon. Because that's become their signature magic trick: stopping time right before the sun disappears over the horizon, tricking you into believing a feeling can last forever.