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Album Review

Beach House, 'Teen Dream'

January 25, 2010

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A big part of Beach House’s hypnosis has always hinged on a simple conceit: As intoxicating and sensory as the music is, it’s never been tangible or even within reach. The Baltimore duo’s heavyhearted meditations on love, loneliness, and devotion have been drowned in dense layers of reverb on Victoria Legrand’s voice and Alex Scally’s guitar; the songs invite you in only to shut you out. What a welcome shock, then, to hear Beach House blossom in such vivid hues on “Teen Dream,’’ the band’s third album and debut for Sub Pop. This is industrial-strength Beach House with its hallmarks intact, just bigger and better. With co-producer Chris Coady, Legrand and Scally lift some of the haze that has often enveloped their music. Scally’s guitar, with a tone as rich as midnight blue, takes a starring role on “Norway’’ and “Zebra,’’ and Legrand explores different shades of her murky voice to devastating results on “Real Love.’’ By the end of “10 Mile Stereo,’’ the duo is in full-blown ecstacy. Cymbals crash and shimmer. Celestial harmonies bubble up. Legrand’s vocal shoots into the stratosphere. You suddenly realize: This is what Beach House, which always sounded so fantastic within its limitations, has been missing all along. And now the band has given us this year’s first classic album. (Out tomorrow)

JAMES REED

Indie Rock
Beach House Teen Dream
Sub Pop
ESSENTIAL “10 Mile Stereo’’
Beach House plays at the Paradise Rock Club on March 28.