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Album Review: Beach House – Depression Cherry / Sub Pop & Bella Union


From the first notes of intro track “Levitation,”indie rock duo Beach House delivers the same silver breathy vocals and distant tambourine that exemplified their first release. Depression Cherry is soft and enveloping. It’s a good album, but less so in the context of past Beach House masterpieces. After the 2012 release of Bloom, it was clear that Victoria Legrand and Alex Scully had floated from their early work into something still recognizably ethereal, but this time deeper and stronger, like a first lucid dream experience.

The lyrics speak to universalities that are felt in the smallest ways: “In the night we sleep together / The walls are shaking in their skin.” Each track remains a distinct piece with an open narrative. Bloom was a triumph; its pulsing drums and twinkling synths offered the euphoria one feels on a playground swing at the moment when the body is lifted from the seat to be level with the treetops. Depression Cherry is the fall back to the resting position.

Legrand’s voice is no less hypnotizing, but with less experimentation from track to track, the album becomes a rather monochromatic and melancholy exercise in dream pop. Even the subject matter, in all its ambiguity, suggests the stability of a long-term relationship as opposed to the all-absorbing emotions of new love and heartbreak felt on previous records. Beach House is still transporting us to a dream state, but this time it feels more like they are pulling our eyelids down, rather than lulling the listener into tenderness.

Standout Tracks: Leviathan, Sparks

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