Beach House - Depression Cherry (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Beach House

Depression Cherry (2015)

Sub Pop Records

"Myth" was the track that really won me over with Beach House. It got me digging back into their catalog and really grew my appreciation for their dream-pop craft. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally really, for all intents and purposes, have found a way to sink their teeth into that 'hipster' (no disrespect meant), shoegaze, trippy mainstream aspect of the genre - which I respect given their age, ambition and determination. I heard people use the word 'exploit' in times past, but I've never seen the need to knock them for doing what they do, even if it isn't your cup of tea. Albums like Teen Dream and Bloom after all, capture so much of the angst and drama from our salad days, so it's a nice nostalgic trip. Which is what makes Depression Cherry a good addition to their discography. Yes, it's overly polished and feels more product than art at times, but then after a couple listens, you realise it's a natural progression that's directly proportional to their exposure and maturity, both grown since 2010 when most would say they landed.

"Levitation" is the ideal way to kick the record off as it feels like a slowed-down, shimmery jam aligned to "Myth". Orchestral and introspective. I love how coy it plays off as do most of the tracks in their subtle crescendos, gorgeous sprawls and dynamic flourishes. "Sparks" also incites that flair of innocence as it hums, hauntingly so, into a long-winded fit of distortion - something I admit the band needs to do more of. The duo don't like to get rough around the edges and I think this mentality of getting the tracks overdone does take away from the overall feel of the record. You want parts fragile. Dream-pop isn't meant to be perfect to me. That said, there are a couple stylistic risks (not enough to be honest) but these forays do pay off. It leaves them consistent as usual and in a good direction. Of course, I'd be remiss not to mention that quite a few tracks feel devoted to Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine.

But it's the way Depression Cherry tempers things down that really brings the cart home. Tracks like "Wildflower" and "Bluebird" are as hazy and atmospheric as can be as Beach House crowd the listener with a dense, synth/shoegaze plot that'll surely leave a lasting impression. Their best work? No. That'll be the last two full-lengths to me. But this record's a pretty damn good stab at things. Boring and tedious at times. But tension-filled and cinematic at others, which will leave you drifting into a beautiful abyss more often than not.