Beach House Devotion

[Carpark; 2008]

Styles: narcotic drone-rock
Others: Codeine, Nico, Mazzy Star

Listening to Beach House draws energy from my body like a tick sucking blood from its host. I'd resist, but I feel helpless -- and more than a little doped-up -- every time tunes like last year's cult hit "Apple Orchard" slink into my system like some good black-tar yam-yam (HEROIN to the layperson). I enjoyed their self-titled debut so much it ended up scaling much higher on my 2006 year-end list than I would have ever anticipated upon first listen, and it's because they crept up on me like a tortoise instead of rabbit-punching me like a hare then ditching town.

Devotion has that same opiated warmth that left me lying in a bed of rose petals for long stretches last year, and though I would have preferred a bigger growth spurt from the Baltimore duo, they shot up at least enough to warrant a new pencil mark a half-inch/inch above where I placed them in '06. Seeing as a lot of bands are almost progressing too fast these days, scrambling to make their White Album before they deliver a Rubber Soul, I'm definitely in the position to welcome a slow, steady ascension.

Now that I've made my point, what the fuck else is there to talk about? Well, there are plenty of songs to describe, and like a sight-blessed tourist describing Central Park to a blind friend, I will map out Devotion's contours in hopes you will be inspired to experience it for yourself (though that poor blind bastard is totally F-ed; sorry guy!). Any discussion of Beach House albums must start with a standout track. Last time ‘round it was "Apple Orchard"; this time it's "Wedding Bell," no. 1 on the tracklist and no. 1 in my heart.

This song, like so many Beach House tunes, lives and dies on its melody, and as usual, Victoria Legrand delivers another delightful dose with a solid verse and a chorus that would make me tear up if I weren't such a hollowed-out shell of a man. (Okay, this isn't necessarily true; in fact, every time I hear this song and its "Oh, and your wish is my command" lyric, I think about my wife and the lengths I'd go to please her. There, I said it.) The backing consists of what you'd expect from this band if you heard them the first time around: synths that buzz around your honeyed head like bumblebees, a beat that plods like a tractor down the shoulder of a country highway, synths/slide guitar/effects that are mixed and matched depending on the song, and that well-worn voice.

Now that I've summed up a track that represents the rest of Devotion so well, I can't think of any reason to bloat this review further. Beach House don't offer a lot of variety, and, thus far, never have. And, continuing my complete hypocrisy (how many times have I ripped on other bands for not expanding on their sound?), I don't give a baker's fuck. And a Daniel Johnston cover? Pile it on, baby.

1. Wedding Bell
2. You Came To Me
3. Gila
4. Turtle Island
5. Holy Dances
6. All The Years
7. Heart Of Chambers
8. Some Things Last a Long Time
9. Astronaut
10. D.A.R.L.I.N.G

11. Home Again

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