07.20.2015 — “Sparks” by Beach House

Beach House

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Sparks” by Beach House (2015, from the forthcoming album Depression Cherry).

Beach House is the Baltimore dream-pop duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. They formed in 2004, and have been one of the biggest stars of indie rock and college radio ever since then. Their 2012 album Bloom was an overwhelming success, making nearly everybody’s year-end list. It was my fifth favorite album of that year. As successful as that album was, it was also a bit of a departure from the roots, the original vision of Beach House. That album featured a lot of live drums, and some elaborate structure. This is opposed to the other albums which stuck to the original model of Legrand on vocals/keys and Scally on guitars/bass pedal/keys, with programmed drums and other samples. On the new album, they return to their original form and keep it really simple.

Depression Cherry comes out on August 28 via Sub Pop, and in advance of it, the label premiered today’s song a few weeks ago.

I’ve managed to listen to the entire album a few times, and I think it’s fantastic. Not only a return to their true form, but it’s also reminiscent of some of the second tier of the 1990s 4AD roster. On today’s song, I’m specifically reminded of His Name Is Alive, and their 1993 album Mouth By Mouth. Without, of course, the extreme weirdness of HNIA. Dream-gazey goodness with live guitars and a bit of programming. Legrand’s vocals make something that’s already pretty dreamy, and pushes it over the top.

Today’s song is a pretty good example of what you should expect from Depression Cherry

“Sparks” by Beach House

After the intro, when it gets right into the warm synths, the squealing guitar, and the programmed drums, that’s the part that makes me think of HNIA. Very specifically, I’m thinking of the song “Can’t Go Wrong Without You”. The rest of the song gets away from that, and it goes in a really terrific direction.

If you pre-order Depression Cherry via bandcamp here, you’ll get an instant download of today’s song, and the rest of the album on August 28. Also consider buying this on vinyl from Subpop here. While supplies last, people who pre-order vinyl will get the limited edition clear vinyl.

You can also catch Beach House on tour starting in August. Their last show of the US tour will be about 30 minutes from my house, then they’ll head to the UK and Europe for a month, then they’ll play four nights in a row at LA’s Fonda Theater and three nights in a row at San Francisco’s Filmore.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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