Spin Dat Record: Beach House’s “Teen Dream

A spacecraft fashioned with bright, pulsating colored lights hurling through space in slow motion- this is what it feels like to listen to the newest dream pop masterpiece from Baltimore, Maryland’s Beach House. Their third album, Teen Dream, is their most impressive release to date. There has been a huge buzz about Beach House in the indie music scene since their self-titled release in 2006. Their combination of using classical piano composition, modern electronic instruments, alternate guitar tunings, simple percussion, and soft harmonies truly give them a distinct sound.

Lead vocalist Victoria Legrand’s firm alto voice erupts past the slow, head nod-inducing music that drifts in the background. Guitarist and keyboardist Alex Scally’s droning synthesizer perfectly compliments his dreamy, minimalist guitar style.

The album’s first single, “Zebra,” is like a carousel ride, floating the listener around and around surreally. In the song, Legrand compares an individual’s character to the colors in the coat of a zebra. She sings: “Oasis child. Eyes so mild and wide. Don’t I know you better than the rest? All deception. All deception from you.Black-and-white horse, arching among us.” The zebra’s black-and-white fur seems to be a metaphor for the moral conflict that exists in humans. Perhaps a commentary on how purity and darkness can coexist in all of us? I don’t know.

Another track from the album entitled “Silver Soul,” like many of the other tracks from the album, is futuristic, lilting, and cryptic. A fuzzy bass line growls in the background under high-pitched guitar and light falsetto vocals, and a keyboard punches out an otherworldly melody.

Overall, this is Beach House’s most mature release yet. Their previous album, while fantastically put together, still lacked a certain distinction of sound. Teen Dream tells us that Beach House has found their sound, and it’s a unique one, to say the least.

The album, released on January 26 on Subpop records is available on vinyl, CD, and digital format. If you decide to buy the album, I suggest buying it on two-disc vinyl. The vinyl issue gives you a free digital download, a poster, an art book, and a DVD that has a music video for every track. Pretty great deal.

Also, look for Beach House’s Zebra EP that coming out on April 17.