On opener Saltwater, a shimmering and wonderful thing, Beach House vocalist Victoria Legrand warns, 'You couldn't lose me if you tried'. Take heed, music fans. After one listen of this debut from the Baltimore duo, I imagine anyone with taste will find it hard to elude the pull of these nine hypnotic tracks.
Released mid-August, it's probably more fitting that I'm reviewing this in late September. Beach House occupy a sonic space that evokes all things autumn, and would be perfect accompaniment to a solitary stroll through a spooky woodland of falling leaves and dying sunshine. Their musical lineage makes luxurious pitstops at the works of Yo La Tengo and Mazzy Star. In fact, Legrand's languid vocals recall Hope Sandoval on more than one occasion, although her versatility shines through; she puts in a soulful performance on recent single Master of None and then trades that in for gorgeous harmonies on closer Heart and Lungs.
While Legrand's vocals add a specific kind of magic, the music itself is a quiet revolution waiting to alter your senses. Shifting seamlessly between melancholy and uplifting, often within the same bar, the swaths of organ and Alex Scally's slide guitar come together to create the best kind of slow burn. Looping harpsichord furthers the baroque quality to Grimm fairytale waltz Auburn and Ivory, and the crashing organs that underline House on the Hill could make Win Butler jealous. The mournful Apple Orchard, meanwhile, is as good a song as you'll hear all year.
There's room for experimentation here but that's what second albums are for. For the time being, let this one envelope you. The dark nights are on their way, after all, and Beach House will surely offer its own wonderful sanctuary.