After the neat, dreamy confection that was “Depression Cherry,” Beach House fans were suitably sated. The dream pop quota for 2015 had been adequately filled. But in an absolute blue moon of a music release, Beach House left fans pleasantly flabbergasted with the surprise appearance of their sixth record, “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” in October. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, who compose the band, said the following about it: “… the record feels very new for us, and a great departure from our last few records. It’s hard to put it into words, but something about the record made us want to release it without the normal ‘campaign.’ We wanted it to simply enter the world and exist.” A beautiful sentiment, of course. Beach House has made music merely for entrance into their dream world, and perhaps that is why they’re offering it like free candy, sans bells and whistles. It’s like saying, “Come, let us share this fantasy with you.”
Stylistically, fans have noted the album’s closer connection with “Bloom” rather than August’s “Depression Cherry,” mainly because of the darker, more troubled tinge to the songs. The insistent, melancholy drums are back, pounding their way effortlessly across the record, while gritty, rough licks of electric guitar are in abundance. The vanilla sheen of the previous album has been stripped away, leaving raw feelings. This is particularly apparent in the angsty stand-out track “Elegy to the Void” and the gloomily sing-song “Common Girl,” which interestingly uses an identical chord progression as “On the Sea” from “Bloom.”
The similarities with “Depression Cherry” aren’t completely absent, however. The sticky taffy melodies of “Rough Song” are highly reminiscent of the previous album’s sweet, celestial atmosphere. But in “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” Beach House introduces an edge – a recurring chop of the synth, painting the image of a streak of streetlights against an open night sky.
The opener, “Majorette,” launches the album with a very accessible and undoubtedly pleasant scoop of electric guitar riffs that could easily belong in an indie movie scene. This is the kind of track a sighing adolescent would listen to for hours on a cloudy afternoon. Still, Beach House saves the song from slipping into that clichéd torment with their dark, fantastical vocal harmonies, which lend a spiritual, otherworldly touch to not only “Majorette” but several other tracks.
A clear favorite is the paradise of harmony “She’s So Lovely.” Listen to this song on a dark, starlit rendezvous with your boyfriend or girlfriend. It feels like floating away; the undercurrent of a stirring bass line elevates you into another world. Fluttering wings of electric guitar brush your skin tenderly. Before you know it, you’re tracing castles in the sand with your fingers and reality doesn’t exist anymore.
Another stand-out is “The Traveller,” markedly different from the others due to its syncopated drum beat and whimsical, spacey chords. Interestingly enough, it sounds somewhat like a song from Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories.” However, Beach House’s more unpredictable harmonization and unique vocals morph “The Traveller” into a blue, glittering musical journey of its own.
In essence, this album sounds like somebody’s mind tipped open to reveal the galaxies inside. It’s full of darkness, stars, bright sparks, melancholia, romance, and all manner of transcendental emotions. Softness is balanced perfectly with a razor edge – you will not be disappointed.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.