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Devotion

Beach House

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Album Review

With Devotion, Beach House prove once again that they're one of the more strangely named bands around. Their music is so lonely, so haunting, that the only beach house it evokes is a deserted one, stranded on a winter night so desolate that summer isn't even a memory. Then again, that atmosphere is precisely what made Beach House's self-titled debut so striking, and Devotion is even more so, since Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally bring more focus, depth, and warmth to their unmistakable sound. Tracks like "Gila" and "Turtle Island" show that all the pair need to build a mood are their vintage-sounding drum machines, keyboards, and layers of Legrand's womanly, velvety voice, but Beach House spend just as much time expanding their horizons as they do delivering their definitive sound. Devotion begins with "Wedding Bells," which, with its fuzzed-out guitar, keyboard filigrees, harpsichords, and pedal steel, is one of the duo's most elaborate songs yet. It's also one of Beach House's most immediate, fully formed songs, something that this album has far more of than the band's debut. "You Came to Me" is a stunner, melding dark chamber pop ambience with lyrics that feel like they came from a surreal '70s AM radio hit. "Heart of Chambers" is downright soulful, with Legrand's keening voice and swelling organs giving it a truly devotional cast. Not surprisingly, given the album's title, Devotion's songs deal with love and loyalty, or the lack thereof: "Some Things Last (A Long Time)" is an aptly torchy, country-tinged ballad about carrying a torch for someone; "Astronaut" pines for a crush to be requited, filtering the innocence and drama of girl group pop through the band's gauzy approach. "Home Again" is just as sweet — but not nearly as reassuring — as its title suggests, setting lyrics like "Something about the way a heart is nailed above a hand" to finger snaps and a melody with a wintry sparkle. Like Beach House, Devotion sounds like it was made for, and possibly in, the dead of night. This time, though, Beach House's dark moods have more shades, and even a little bit of light, making them all the more compelling.

Customer Reviews

Beach House

This album is just so lovely and aching. The woozy synths are so perfect... my favourite track is heart of chambers; it reminds me of a rainy spring day indoors.

not impressed

all these songs pretty much sound the same.

Not Love at First Sight

Oh man... Oh MAN! ... there is just so much emotion in this album it is crazy. This so far is still Beach House's best effort to date ( in my opinion ). The hazy lo-fi instrumentation serves to create an atmosphere. An atmosphere of a run-down but home-y beach house ( if their name wasn't enough ) on the east coast overlooking a small, rocky cliff where from down below, one can see the warm glow from candles in the house, barely lighting up the cool, windy night. It may seem like a bit much, but that's just how vivid and powerful this music can be! Victoria's voice is the wind, sometimes warm and hazy, other times cold and haunting, always immediate and direct. Don't expect an iTunes preview to win you over, in fact, upon first listen, the album is quite uneventful and monotone. Only with repeated listens does the charming and home-y qualities of the beach house fully present itself to you ( like all of beach house's music ). Truly fantastic record.

Favorite Songs: Wedding Bell, You Came To Me, Gila, Turtle Island, Heart of Chambers, Home Again

Biography

Formed: 2005 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Despite its summery name, Beach House creates music that is dark, dreamy, and alluringly hypnotic. Baltimore residents Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand (the niece of French composer Michel Legrand) formed the duo in 2005, with Legrand's hushed, Nico-like vocals and Scally's delicate instrumentation paving the way for their first batch of songs. Within a year, Beach House had charmed indie music enthusiasts across the blogosphere with its languid songcraft, and the eerie warmth of "Apple Orchard"...
Full bio
Devotion, Beach House
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