Beach House: Once, Twice, Three Times, Four Times…

I want to say Beach House is like an enigma. It’s like
who else makes music like them?
it’s not alt, it’s not indie, and it’s compelling enough to not be shoegaze, but then I always come back to the
eternal issue. do all of their songs sound the same?
to the untrained ear, probably.
to the trained ear, maybe still, though
it’s possible that what the people call monotony is really just stylistic consistency or the fact that every single song is the one
you cried to last week after you realized
your life was going nowhere.
at the very least, Beach House’s style is utterly gorgeous and deeply emotional almost all of the time. you love to love to love them in small increments, but personally I hated to love their new album Once Twice Melody.
maybe I just wasn’t ready to move on
from Depression Cherry, their near-perfect 2015 album from which everybody knows “Space Song,” a piece that physically sticks its hand into your chest and
methodically rips your heart into
pieces. naturally, I went into Once Twice Melody ready to be disappointed. Beach House has released 3 albums since Depression Cherry, and the fact that I am still hung up on it speaks volumes about the content of those three albums.
regardless, what I found in Once Twice Melody was the voice of a band that, after almost 16 years releasing music, has come into their own. the sound is mature and intricately designed. they’ve even seemed to lean into their stoner music persona
at last.
the word faded is slipped awkwardly into a few tracks in the same way that Taylor Swift decided she was
finally old enough to start swearing on folklore.
what excited me most upon first glance was the division of the album into 4 EP-length discs. I couldn’t help but think of the “chapters” created by Taylor Swift
(can you tell i like her?)
from her albums evermore, folklore, Red (Taylor’s Version), and Fearless (Taylor’s Version). I hoped that there would be some connections between songs within the discs, making the disc idea an incredible design choice.
what I found was a little bit
at least lyrically. there’s a lot of good chordality and beat and even some wedding-style musical themes, like the one on “ESP” that I really
the introduction to “Pink Funeral” for example -
thematic, large,
invoking something strange and difficult - is immediately trampled by the bland,
meaningless lyricism that failed to distinguish the discs in any poetic way. Not that I
expected anything more -
Beach House is known for their sound more than anything. but part of me
hoped I would get more out of Once Twice Melody
than a couple of cross-references to flowers
(see “Through Me”, “Over and Over”, and “Sunset”)
what did I want? what more could I have asked for from this band that makes songs with sounds that nobody else could?
I wanted what I could only make for myself because the thing about Beach House is that
their music is a platform for you to write your own story, to take
the lines that describe the sky and the grass
in so many metaphors that they lose their depth and make them
about the girl with the red hair you saw in line at the store
or god.
whatever you choose. I think that Once Twice Melody does a good job of this some of the time and
some of the time the
sound poems they call
interrupt the angelic,
evangelical sounds
Beach House calls music.
honest mistake,
to try and strengthen your weakest points.
my wish for you is to find the story in the discs that I missed, to find your own meaning in the metaphor on this album because
you deserve that. Beach House and their lovely
transcendent, fathoms-deep sound
deserve that.