Beach House: 7

Beach House's movements those last few years felt a little sparse. They released two albums in 2015, the very nice, Depression Cherry and its weirder, a bit darker and more underappreciated successor, Thank You Lucky Stars, and although both records were good, something felt off. A B-sides record came in 2017, which felt like the band was padding out their releases, but we'd still listen to it, and we'd still find things to like about it, because it was still Beach House and it was still good. Little did we know that the Baltimore duo was building toward their most daring and venturous record of their fruitful career thus far.

It has already sunk into our consciousness that number 7 is a big deal for Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally for this one. The album is titled 7 because it is their seventh album, and it came after they had recorded 77 songs together. This time around, Chris Coady, the man who served as Beach House's producer since the seminal, Teen Dream, is noticeably absent, and replaced by the Peter Kember of Spacemen 3, aka Sonic Boom. So, try to keep in mind that we're seven albums in. As 7 begins and the first beams of Dark Spring set in, take into account that this band formed in 2004 and put out their first album two years later. Calculations, evaluations and numerology soon will not matter anymore, as the listener becomes immersed into the duo's best album to date.

This is dreampop, the absolute essence of it, yet, Beach House have not risen as one of the genre's classiest and strongest acts by playing for safety. 7 pulls influence from shoegaze, psychedelia, film music, synthpop and noise. Even though it makes a great impression from the first listen, it continues to grow with each additional one, and ultimately it affirms a revived, re-energized and full of life band. The writing is honest, audacious but tightly structured; the performances are loose and evidently instinctual; and the album's production sounds more expansive and cosmic than any previous Beach House album.

Beach House's excellence developed with time. On their way there, the band delivered nothing but character and quality, but despite the immensity of works like Teen Dream, Bloom and Depression Cherry, it is only on 7, their most concise and most epigrammatic album, that the duo sounds right at home and one hundred per cent collected.

Listen to the album below, and watch them deliver a rousing performance of Drunk In LA on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

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