Well that didn’t take long did it? A mere 49 days after releasing their crowning achievement, “Depression Cherry,” Beach House is back with a brand new album. What’s even more surprising is that this isn’t even a B-Sides or compilation record. All signs point to “Thank Your Lucky Stars” being composed of primary material, presumably being written and recorded in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately for the dream pop duo, this rushed process shows.
You do have to give it up to Beach House for remaining consistent however. This album, like all of their other albums, sounds exactly like Beach House: strung out, spacy guitars, slow moving drum machines, and breathy vocals from Victoria Legrand. It’s a formula that they’ve rocked for 11 years now, so if you’re a Beach House diehard, most likely this LP won’t upset you. But on “Depression Cherry,” while it still stuck to the formula for the most part, there was a good bit of experimentation on that record, from the shoegaze of “Sparks,” to the spoken word of “PPP,” to the gorgeous choir and piano on “Days of Candy.” To see Beach House simply fall back on their bare-bones formula is a little disheartening, but it’s even more disheartening given the fact that they didn’t bring the tunes with them. For much of this album the Beach House sound just plods along without the bold and catchy melodies nor the haziness that combined to make “Depression Cherry” so great. So we get the sound without the songs, which is like if Dr. Dre put out an album with the trademark G-Funk synths but with non-danceable rhythms. Long story short, that’s bad news.
“Thank Your Lucky Stars” isn’t reprehensible though. It all sounds alright, and sparingly, the songs deliver. This is especially apparent on the opening and closing tracks, “Marjorette” and “Somewhere Tonight.” These are just cases of Beach House bringing the tunes and atmosphere, and it just continues to show that when they do that, a quality song is made. “Marjorette” features a chord progression identical to Semisonic’s “Closing Time,” and as a result is memorably melodic. This track also ends with a fantastic outro in which the vocals and guitar repeat the same phrase over and over again, getting more and more drowned in reverb as they move along. The closer features another great chord progression paired with a classic 6/8 soul drumbeat, which was pretty interesting to hear in a dream pop song. This track is another example of Beach House writing a wonderfully melodic song to pair with the signature sound, and it goes over with flying colors. Unfortunately, save for the pretty good “All Your Yeahs” and “She’s So Lovely,” elsewhere this album proves to be a damn near snoozefest. While Beach House isn’t expected to make super lively or aggressive music, I’m still looking for memorable and tangible songs, and for the majority of the time, “Thank Your Lucky Stars” doesn’t do that.
Standout Tracks: “Marjorette” “All Your Yeahs” “Somewhere Tonight”