Beach House – Once, Twice, Melody
The musical union of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally as Beach House has been one of the most fruitful and long running partnerships since the turn of the century. Since forming in Baltimore in 2004 they have been at the forefront of the indie and shoegaze genres. With Once Twice Melody (a fun phrase to verbalise btw), they deliver another masterful journey into their own unique world of surrealist pop.
Spread across 18 songs, the album is divided into four distinct chapters – Pink Funeral, New Romance, Masquerade and Love Stories. It’s an intriguing concept and the storybook framing of the album matches the cinematic world-building of the music contained therein.
The title track sets the tone perfectly, with a flower-power era cinematic theme, drawing you inside with it’s floating instrumentation and the vocals of Legrand reign supreme. The introduction of a pulsing synth bass (with a hint of funk to it) turns things into an even more cosmic affair.
To say Legrand and Scally are multi-instrumentalists here is understated. Guitars, keys, synthesisers, violins, cello, effect pedals and much more are wielded, not with abandon, but precision and intent into focused mesmerisation.There is a languid and gentle pulse that is central to much of the songs on Once Twice Melody, wherein hazy sonics set the scene and expectation for what is to come.
As unexpected and multi-directional as the arrangements can be, there is a constantly satisfying warmth throughout when the transitions come. That shift may come via gradual drifting in percussion at unexpected points, harmonic redirections and refracting effects intersecting with shifts from analogue to acoustic instruments.
Written and recorded over three years, between 2018 and 2021, primarily at Apple Orchid Studio in Baltimore, this is an immense work, and simultaneously the first produced entirely by the band. Highly recommended.
Out now via Mistletone.