As pleasurable as it is to listen to the soothing strains of a Beach House record, it is equally frustrating to assess their work in a critical manner. In their eleven years together, the band has created a signature dreampop aesthetic built on a handful of recognizable fundamental elements, and has rarely deviated from that blueprint over the course of their five albums: Victoria Legrand’s smoky vocals float above Alex Scally’s delicate guitar lines, and their combined melodies are layered atop minimalist keyboards and bare-bones drum beats. But it is a fool’s errand to spend much time deconstructing the music when the results are this beautiful.
It is extremely difficult to draw out the differences between Beach House albums, except to note how the production quality has improved over time with better equipment and a bigger budget. Aside from a few standout singles, audiences at a Beach House show would be hard-pressed to determine if a specific song came from the Devotion or Bloom era. To the band’s credit, however, they manage to hit upon the perfect melodic combination for three songs per album, and those moments can be as close to transcendence as indie rock can get. Any musician would kill for that kind of ratio.
Though Depression Cherry offers many of the usual delights that one has come to expect from Beach House, the album’s best moments are found in the few instances when the band subtly tweaks their standard formula. Lead single “Sparks” is a prime example, with its use of a rougher guitar tone that gives a nice edge to the melody and complements Legrand’s breathy voice. The same can be said with the album’s other highlights, the gorgeous “PPP” and the sublime “Days of Candy”–epic ballads that not only show that the band is still capable of inducing goosebumps, but also hint at subsequent new musical directions for the future. The changes are modest (exploring different keyboard tones and chord structures, the addition of choral voices, and playing with the underlying compositional structure a bit), but they at least indicate a willingness to break from the usual template a bit.
Longtime fans will find that Desperation Cherry has its own particular charms, and they grow with each subsequent listen. For the neophyte, the album is an excellent showcase for the band’s trademark melancholic synthpop, and features plenty of hooks that will draw in listeners. In either case, the record is likely to inspire a trip into the band’s sparkling back catalog, so as to enjoy the duo’s ability to capture that beautifully melancholic spirit so well.
Some #longreads as we are welcomed into old age…
Pitchfork has a few features worthy of your attention this weekend. First, be sure to read up on how Fucked Up are working on charitable causes in their hometown of Toronto, most notably sponsoring the unique Long Winter concert series. Then be sure to read the profile on Beach House as they prepare to release their latest album, Depression Cherry. After that, you can finish up with this plea to stop ruining the concert-going experience of your fellow audience members by misusing that tiny, glowing screen that has become essential to modern life. We here at Rust Is Just Right try to take that advice to heart, snapping only a couple of pictures during lulls in the show so as to create as minimal disturbance as possible.
The AV Club takes a look at the many narrative threads of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Brown Sugar” and the strange history of how Sticky Fingers was released.
And finally, Rolling Stone has an extensive oral history on Coolio’s smash hit “Gangsta’s Paradise”, and if there is anything that needs an extensive oral history, it’s that song. 1995 was an awesome year.
New videos, new music, and news as you get over the fact that the European Union is anything but that…
Well, it looks like the crew is back from their sojourn down in LA, so let’s dive right in and attempt to cover at least some of the stuff you may have missed since our last update.
We had been teased with a couple of glimpses into the making of this video, and Kendrick Lamar did not disappoint when he released the video to “Alright”, his latest single. “Alright” features some nifty effects and a strong political message, offering a nice rejoinder to the idiots who complained about his “controversial” performance of the song at the BET Awards.
In the lead-up to the release of their stellar album They Want My Soul last year, Spoon shared a strange animated video for the track “Inside Out”. Apparently, that was not the official video for the song, because the groups has now provided a more “conventional” video for the song, though by no means does that indicate that what you will see is entirely “normal.”
And because Spoon are a bunch of cool dudes, here is a story about the band showing up at a house party in Maine where a Spoon cover band was playing, and the real thing decided to join in on the fun.
Dream-pop purveyors Beach House are set to release their latest album, Depression Cherry on August 28, and have kindly decided to share the lead single “Sparks” to help build up anticipation. The video even features a visual representation of the title!
Low has announced that they will be releasing their new album Ones and Sixes on September 11 of this year. If you click the link, you can check out the new song “No Comprende”.
And finally, one of the most highly-anticipated albums of the year is set to be released this Friday, as Tame Impala’s new album Currents goes on sale. If you are on the fence (or just want an early listen), NPR has the album available for streaming.