As the sun shines across London, glinting buildings reflect back an image of a world without mystery. Today more than ever we are ‘in the know’, aware of our surroundings, our abilities our outward perception. The secrets we once kept across our faces are now plastered across instagram, the darker side of life is now continuously bathed in an ungodly LED light. Beach House have consistently pushed against this in each of their last six studio albums and with new LP 7 now born unto the world, it is clear this is another celebration of the ambiguity of life.
Former Spaceman 3 comrade, Pete Kember, has replaced Chris Coady at the mixing desk for this effort, with Coady having taken charge of the previous six. But there’s no notable discrepancies beyond a few hard-edged sonic additions, to the luscious dream-like texture of Beach house. In fact this may be their most deeply immersive album yet.
Should we be surprised? The duo of Alex Scally and Victoria Lengard have been producing and cultivating this mesmeric ambiguity since their inception. Charting a course across a land less travelled they encouraged listeners to not only enjoy their art but really take a look at it. Explore the levels of compression between each layer and the effect that had on the final output.
It was shown in this album too, with the album title of their seventh album 7 being seemingly a no-brainer, upon closer inspection there were a couple of notable interest. They released the first single of this LP on February 14th, or 14/2 or 1+4+2=7, the 11 songs on this album brings their output to 77 while the record initial issue number was 777.
It could all seem a bit nerdy if at the heart of this intrigue and complexity there wasn’t a pure and unbridled desire to drift away with the music. And that is the key point across the band’s whole catalogue, but especially in this record; Beach House aren’t keen to take you along the path to where their music resides, they want you to go to your own place within it.
Whether it is the thump and thud of ‘Dive’ and ‘Drunk in LA’ or the ethereal spectre of ‘Pay No Mind’ Scally and Lengard manage to let you channel your own interpretation of their tracks. Whether you see them as all encompassing walls of sound or rather an insular and contorting personal battle, the songs themselves are never dictated but merely presented.
The duo have found new heights and depths on this record letting it breathe as if a living thing. Lengard in particular makes this record something to hang her hat on. Choosing moments to fill every inch of the airwaves and others to let them be filled by the listener’s imagination. It’s an incredible performance.
In totality, which is how every Beach House album begs to be defined, the album works beyond the usual parameters of a record. It drives and repeals, it peaks and troughs and it inspires and creates. It is an album which will surely define Beach House, if not only for the fact it lets the listener define it for themselves.