Beach House – Bloom (Sub Pop)
By Scott Creney
After five listens, I’m still not sure this music even exists. It’s that ephemeral, a shimmery mirage that’s every bit as substantial, every bit as nourishing, and every bit as empty, as the image suggests.
It’s pretty. So what. It’s kind of bland. So what. This album could have come out. It could have not come out. I do appreciate the joke of calling an album Bloom when the album that suggests any kind of growth, but unfortunately, it’s a joke at my expense. Where previous albums at least hinted at a psychedelic strangeness, this one just seems too tired to be M83. It’s unambitious, uninspired and underwhelming, undeserving of your time — to say nothing of your money (sometime next week a person will pay $15.99 for this CD at the FYE in the Johnson City Mall just outside of Binghamton, New York unless this review reaches them in time).
The first 30 seconds of ‘Other People’ is compelling. And there’s a cool drone break in ‘Irene’ that’s worth catching, but otherwise the album’s pretty much useless. At its heart, Beach House music is a blank. A list of its faults reads like a trip to visit the Wizard — no heart, no brains, no courage, and all the adorable pigtails in the world doesn’t mean shit. They should have called it ‘Emerald City’. But of course Beach House isn’t much for polysyllables, or stringing words together.
It has a plodding, stately beauty — a dull prettiness. It has the charisma and personality of a garden slug on methadone. An album best listened to while sleeping, where it may at least have the chance to enhance your dreams. As for waking life, it might sound good if you’d just taken a whole bunch of painkillers, but I fear you’d probably have to overdose on Fentanyl before Beach House became truly compelling.
However, like someone in the grips of a Fentanyl OD, the singer of Beach House also sounds unresponsive and struggling to breathe.
On their forthcoming tours to support Bloom, I would advise Beach House to sock away as much of their guarantee as they’re able to. In all likelihood, they’re never going to see that kind of money again. And of all the shitty things I may have said about their new album, how much do you want to bet that it’s that last sentence that will sting them the most.