“Depression” never sounded so sweet from dreamy indie duo Beach House

You might think it strange for someone to be giddy about the release of an album titled “Depression Cherry”. My music tastes are not necessarily mainstream. I am, after all, the music director for a college radio station. The fifth and latest album from Baltimore dreamy indie pop duo, Beach House, couldn’t have come out at a better time for me. Over the past year I finally came to appreciate Beach House’s music.

I had first listened to them when I was in high school, around the time their third album “Teen Dream” was released. I wasn’t attracted to their sound back then, as I don’t think I was “mature” enough to appreciate such a laidback and non-mainstream sound. I have now changed my tune, as I love “Teen Dream” and I regard their 2012 album “Bloom” to be my favorite from the duo. When the release date was announced for “Depression Cherry”, I wondered how they could possibly top “Bloom”.

They didn’t top the magnum opus of “Bloom”, but that’s okay. The duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are still crafting the best music to listen to while lying in bed, questioning the world and all its existence. With only 9 tracks, the album feels shorter than previous efforts, especially “Bloom”, whose last track lasts 16 minutes long. They don’t do anything like that on here.

The duo focuses less on intricate layers of instrumentation and more on the vocals of Scally and Legrand. The album does have a darker tone, but the duo hasn’t confided much into the meaning of the album title “Depression Cherry”, though according to Legrand it has a “myriad of possibilities”. The album is even more lush than previous efforts, refining and narrowing on their signature Beach House sound. But they do take chances, like the heavy guitar riffs on the song “Sparks”, and the use of choral voices on the closing track “Days of Candy”.

In an interview with Fact Magazine, Scally said that none of the songs on this album could have been on any of their previous records. I think that’s quite an overstatement, as I’m not hearing anything on this album that’s revolutionarily different from their previous work. But to be frank, I have not listened to their first two albums, something I certainly intend on doing. (I’m too busy being music director at KVSC to listen to everything I want). I hear similar melodies between albums. For instance, the track “Space Song” always reminds me of the tune “Walk in the Park” from the album “Teen Dream.

Not every track grabs me like the ones on “Bloom” did. “Bloom” was fully of catchy and thought provoking melodies. “Depression Cherry” is a lovely listen, and there are memorable moments, but it’s not the album I was overly eager to receive. Of course I haven’t been waiting for this album for 3 years like longer fans of the duo. I’d love to know the opinions of those who have been listening to Beach House for the past decade, if they align with my thoughts.

I still believe that Beach House is one of the best acts in music today. In the Fact magazine interview, Scally said he thinks they could be one of those bands that keeps putting out albums and never goes away, and I hope he is correct. As a more recent fan I look forward to what the duo does in the future. I’d also like to give kudos to the fuzzy red velvet album cover. It’s not every day you want to nuzzle your cheek on a CD case.

Final Verdict: 7/10

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