Beach House has been one of the most consistent bands in recent memory, releasing four equally well-received albums since 2006. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have defined their dream pop by weaving swirling synths and clean, slide guitar playing with Legrand’s powerful voice and beautiful melodies. The variety across each album is subtle, each slowly growing sonically larger. From the minimalism on their wonderful self titled debut to the lush Bloom, Beach House’s transformation is more clear when looking at their discography as a whole and especially apparent now that Depression Cherry, hopefully only temporarily, bookends their work.
Depression Cherry is filled with nine tracks and still represents a step forward for a band who recently has allowed a nostalgia for their past work seep through. The larger and more booming aspects of their previous releases are more scarce; instead of arena worthy choruses, Legrand utilizes whispers and even spoken vocal parts. One of the many highlights on the album, “PPP,” has breaks with Legrand speaking over the music in a style reminiscent of Suicide, something not found on previous releases.
Legrand’s deep and concrete voice has always been a trademark of the group’s music, here we see more of the light side of her timbre. Her voice on Depression Cherry often possesses an airiness that has grown more prevalent across each release, making comparisons to late-90’s Japanese dream pop duo 800 Cherries easier to draw. Beach House uses subtlety to their advantage; most of the songs on Depression Cherry are slow-growing ballads. Through vivid and emotional lyricism, LeGrand and Scally are able to instill a sentimentality in the listener, holding them until the song opens up into a grand conclusion of synths and remarkable guitar lines.
Scally’s guitar playing is as alluring as ever on this release, able to pull the band’s rotating synths together. Depression Cherry moves smoothly from track to track, never feeling repetitive and ending on what could be its highest note. “Days of Candy” sounds as though it could be off of Pet Sounds, with Wilson Brothers-inspired harmonies and a lush conclusion of Legrand crooning “I know it comes too soon / The universe is riding off with you.”
Depression Cherry offers variety, with no song falling short of the duo’s direction. Through and through, it is a lush, emotional and heartbreaking release.