If you find yourself bewitched by the dream pop sounds of Beach House, than their latest record Depression Cherry will continue to enchant you in new ways. A follow up to 2012’s critically beloved Bloom, Cherry has more of those lush, soaring sounds for which Beach House is known, but its touch is soft and gentle. Awash with light, Depression Cherry is carefully crafted and effervescent with every guitar lick and synthy note. It’s profoundly romantic and atmospheric, but never too heavy to bear.
The duo behind Beach House is Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, a match made in dreamy music heaven. Legrand’s keyboard-playing voice is angelic with a smokiness you only hear when she carries out her notes just so, and Scally adds intrigue and drama to it with his guitar-playing, creating a contrast that’s undeniably rich and beautiful. The sounds the two of them create seem to get more vibrant with each record, exploring bright, deep new palettes in their opulent musical arrangements. Their songs are vivid and dense like a Monet painting, and never overworked. They invoke jewel-toned images of flowers, water, sunlight, greenery and sky, like staring down a hypnotic kaleidoscope. They are soundscapes in every sense of the word.
Depression Cherry is fluid, but nuances and quirks take you by surprise, offering little hits of adrenaline in unexpected place. On “Sparks”, an organ creates a strange, almost out of place cacophony, but somehow it fits in like a missing puzzle piece and you realize the song wouldn’t be the same without it. It’s jarring at first, then becomes second nature as the song develops. And “Days of Candy” give a slow, hypnotic first impression until the halfway point when a sudden quietly manic beat invigorates it into something new and fresh. This one might be the darkest moment on Depression Cherry, but it evades gloominess and instead feels airy and wispy like a ghostly lullaby.
The sense of urgency that was present on Bloom is still there on Cherry, but it manifests in a different way. Here it’s sweeping and dramatic, like the thrill of being in love. “Levitation” is especially swooning and sumptuous—the perfect album opener. It invites you in and envelopes you in a warm embrace that feels so good. Its melody is transcendent and grand, surrounding you completely.
“Beyond Love” takes its time with lonely electric guitar notes that do a mystical dance, graceful and free-spirited. The harmonies on this song float smoothly, like a cool stream of water. And “Wildflower” draws inspiration from 80s pop. With one of the more prominent beats on the record that continues through the song like a steady heartbeat, it’s got the catchiest melody. This song, like its title, blooms sweetly with each note, resulting in a colorful burst of harmonies and synth.
Where Bloom was explosive, Cherry is elegantly and smartly restrained. Bloom‘s accessible pop sound translated to sing-alongs and the occasional head bang, but do not be deceived by the hushed Cherry. It packs the same punch. The songs on the album are elevated and just as painstakingly detailed. Bloom featured one memorable, catchy song after another, which was evident from the very first listen. Depression Cherry will take some time to settle into and absorb. It’s less obvious, but just as intentional. There is a power in it but it is hidden, and finding it is part of the listening experience. Beach House has created something intricate and ornate; a strange, magic combination of haziness and luster that fogs and shines simultaneously, like a glimmering mist that will suck you in.