BEST OF 2010… ALREADY! Beach House “Teen Dream” is a must-listen

31 Jan

Well call me pleased as a pumpkin! I’ve already found the first album for my “Top Ten of 2010” list, and January isn’t even done.

It’s official: Teen Dream, the third effort from Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House, and I are an item.

We have run away together.

This is not an affair characterized by drunk dials, cheap motels or unrequited love; rather, it’s one built on warmth, complexity and the careful exposure of one’s own vulnerability.

A “teen dream” it is indeed, as the album’s sweeping emotions recall teenage glory-days where highs were high, risks happened daily, and heartbreak was lurking ’round every corner.

Oh the sadness and the splendor of it all!

This is the first album Beach House has released on Sub Pop. Because both CD and LP formats of Teen Dream come with a companion DVD featuring a video for each song made by a different director, it appears the record label folks are just as dedicated to making this a complete sensory experience.

And what an experience it is.


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Vocalist/organist Victoria Legrand spans an incredible range with her rough, androgynous sound. Her voice is described as “beautifully oaky and deep,” like a fine wine. With incredible vocal dexterity and her trademark controlled wavering, Legrand’s melodies create a world where sadness is a regular fixture, but the depth earned from weighty lessons is far more significant.

Interestingly, Legrand’s sadness is balanced by her bandmate Alex Scally, who brings a tinkering, starry-eyed optimism to the album.

For example, the strong pop-powerhouse loop that opens “Norway” and the easygoing guitar twang that accompanies Legrand’s tormented melody form a delightful contrast.

“Norway” is epic and disorienting: perfect for riding your bike downhill after a first kiss.

Also, the shimmery synth-pop track “Lover of Mine” is suitable for reminiscing about drinking outdoors with good friends. It’s got the simultaneous warmth, excitement and release of going pee in the wilderness. (What?! Who doesn’t love that?)

And if that’s not enough to sell you, the boozy, calm sway of “Silver Soul” will call up memories of the best beach vacation you’ve ever had.

But the true gem of the album is “Real Love,” in which Legland’s soulful voice drips with tears. Here it’s just her and some gorgeous heavy-handed piano for a gut-wrenching five minutes and 23 seconds.

I am tranquilized:

“The color you say is black is the one you might lack / In the size of your eyes, is there a righteous prize?

“There’s something wrong with our hearts / When they beat pure they stand apart / In the black room, the light, watch the seabird fall / Real love, it finds you somewhere with your back to it”

You’ll need to get carried away by the band’s airy, emotional car chase, but rest assured there is a steady hand on the wheel.

BUY: Beach House Teen Dream on iTunes

LIVE ACTION: Beach House LIVE at Rickshaw on April 11

Photo courtesy of


One Response to “BEST OF 2010… ALREADY! Beach House “Teen Dream” is a must-listen”

  1. Breakfast Nook · November 12, 2010 at 11:08 AM #

    beach houses are really nice and it would always be a warm and relaxing place ‘~-

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