Are you one of those people who instantly fell in love with Beach House‘s critically praised album Teen Dream? You know, the dream pop album that took America by storm in January 2010 and made all other dream pop acts sound like Hanson cover bands? If you answered yes, you’re probably going to love their new album, Bloom. If you’re like me, it probably won’t make the top of your priority list.
It’s not that I hate Teen Dream. Quite the contrary. It just took me a long time to get around to it because there were a lot of great records to hear and dream pop isn’t necessarily my go-to form. Eventually, around November 2010, I did give it a spin and discovered that it was pretty good. I don’t love every song, but it’s certainly better than I expected. A few of the songs are really brilliant, and that’s what makes Bloom so disappointing for me.
The new album kicks off well enough with “Myth,” but it never really finds its footing. On Teen Dream there was a feeling of urgency, like these songs needed to be recorded. On Bloom we get a hodgepodge of meandering synths and vocals that never add up to much. It’s almost as if they didn’t know how to make a record after the huge success of their previous effort, so they went out of their way to make the same record but failed miserably.
Alex Scally, who doesn’t get much exposure on Teen Dream, gets a little bit more time out in front here. From my perspective that’s a good thing. On “The Hours” he gets to play some guitar that you can hear for once. Besides “Myth,” this is probably the best song on the record. Scally’s talents also get put to good use on the following track, “Troublemaker.”
I get the feeling that Scally and singer/organist Victoria Legrand were bored making this album. Maybe they wanted to go in a new direction but felt compelled to give their fans what they’re expecting. Whatever it is, I hope on their next album they get to play music they’re interested in, because this definitely isn’t them giving one hundred percent.
For people who really love Beach House, go ahead and pick this up when it comes out. It shares a lot of the qualities of Teen Dream, just not the ones that make an album good. For those of you who hated Teen Dream, don’t bother. There’s nothing here to make you change your mind.
Apparently the record doesn’t come out until May, so you have some time to decide which group you would categorize yourself in.