The stream of the highly-anticipated follow-up to the Baltimore dream-pop band's immaculate "Teen Dream" went live on May 6, and at press time had attracted more than 20,000 Facebook "likes."
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Although that kind of reaction may seem impressive for an indie band, Beach House's Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have been steadily crafting their sound for years. But early critical reactions to "Bloom" have made that sound, and its craft, an issue of mild contention.
While the Beach House blend of piquant melodies, shimmering guitar and droning synth haze remain as familiar here as ever -- feast your ears on "Myth" and "Lazuli" -- the critical consensus seems to be that, in their quest to craft the dreamiest, most effervescent sounding music around, the duo have gotten a little more rigid in their delivery.
The Guardian likened "Bloom" to an arctic landscape, while Stereogum called it "a calculated, articulate affair," even while lauding how good it sounds. That double-edged sword is a near-requisite growing pain -- and an almost-unavoidable critical trope -- in the development of a band whose first record was, in Pitchfork's estimation "[mottled with]... flubbed notes, missed cues, and empty spaces."
"Bloom," by contrast, doesn't misplace a single note. But meticulous as it may be, the album is true to its name. Here is a band awakening to a new level of its sound. It thrives on structure like a lush vine slowly climbing a lattice -- not cold, not dead, not static in the least, but dynamic, lush and growing richer with every listen.
Click to stream Beach House's "Bloom" On NPR.org.
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