CD review: Beach House’s ‘Bloom’
Wed, May 9, 2012 (5:11 p.m.)
Beach House is on a mission to bring the Cocteau Twins’ brand of gossamer-fine music back into fashion. The Baltimore duo impressively channeled the influential U.K. band on 2010’s Teen Dream; the album’s tunes floated in a haze of cotton-candy keyboards, pattering beats and Victoria Legrand’s queen-of-heart vocals. Sonically, Beach House’s fourth full-length, Bloom, picks up right where its predecessor left off. “Wild” and the organ-freckled “Troublemaker” offer low-lit ambience and drowsy atmospheres, while dream-pop gems “New Year” and “Other People” find Legrand conjuring Cocteau singer Elizabeth Fraser’s angelic upper range. (The latter tune’s delicate guitar uplifts are also among the album’s best accents.) But despite undulating tempos and lusher arrangements—along with poetic, brooding lyrics—Bloom comes off like a shapeless version of Teen Dream. Its monotonous tempos quickly become plodding, and even the beauty of the music can’t prevent it from becoming sonic wallpaper.