Beach House Once Twice Melody Sub Pop
Nearly two decades into their career, you might forgive Beach House for taking a step back. But instead, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally seem to be doubling down. Their latest record is their biggest release yet: a double album shared in four parts, complete with a fuller production quality and a shimmering live string ensemble.
Despite the grandeur, they sound as comfortingly familiar as ever. The album kicks in with the expansive titular track that functions as a kind of homecoming as the pair indulge all the familiar tropes: droning keys, languid murmurs, a crushing, bittersweet melancholy. Tangents made throughout the Beach House discography are brought together and explored in more depth, like in the scuzzy textures of Only You Know, which wouldn’t sound out of place on 2015’s Depression Cherry, or in the lullaby-adjacent Many Nights, which harks back to their pre-Sub Pop era.
As well as tying together old threads, the record looks forward, with subtle forays into new territory across the tracklist. Midway through, the acoustic guitar-led Sunsetmarks their most intimate moment to date, delivered with a startling clarity. Equally exciting is the moody 80s sensibility scattered throughout, channelled in the trickling synths of Hurts to Love and at its best in the minimal wave-esque Masquerade, which chugs, chimes and embraces its rougher edges. It’s these interior moments as much as the cinematic that make Beach House’s return special.