Two years ago, Baltimore-based dream-pop duo Beach House released its best effort to date with Teen Dream. The album took the band’s gift for crafting atmospheric, melancholic synth pop to an entirely new level. The band’s writing was tighter, cleaner. The songs themselves were suffused with nostalgia and heartbreak. It took the band’s signature style — droning organs, echoing guitars, digitized beats, and gorgeous vocals and lyrics — and refined them to the point where a successful followup seemed unlikely.
Fortunately for us, Beach House has proved that notion wrong. Bloom, the band’s new album, asserts that Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s melodious prowess and integrity are back — and to stunning effect. Song after song, it’s evident that the band’s sophisticated songwriting and complex-yet-approachable arrangements are more self-assured than ever. The tracks are concurrently experimental and catchy, and with them, Beach House has found a perfect outlet for its keyboard-laden, sad-eyed hymns.
With a majority of these songs written during Beach House’s constant touring over the past couple of years, Bloom is to be experienced as a whole rather than by individual tracks (though it’s difficult not to single out stunners like “Myth,” “Wild,” and “Troublemaker,” among others). But album flow and consistency always have been two of Beach House’s strong suits. Thus Bloom is cohesive from start to finish, tied together not just by the band’s indelible sound, but by Scally and Legrand’s powerful songwriting.
On each subsequent album, it feels like the duo gets more and more confident, and that is quite apparent on Bloom. Churning through layers of languid, twilight-esque pop, the album lets listeners witness gorgeously crafted songs blossom on every track — resulting in a true work of beauty.