Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Beach House Releases First Half of Their Highly Anticipated Double-LP with ‘Once Twice Melody’

Beach House has always been a project with a deeply nostalgic sound, in part, due to their history: the project, made up of Victoria Legend and Alex Scally, is in many ways emblematic of the mid to late aughts indie-pop scene, the world of Zooey Deschanel,  twee, Tumblr, and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon in a Williamsburg subterranean. Lead vocalist Legend even lent her voice to what may have been that era’s anthem, the iconic track ‘Two Weeks’ by Grizzly Bear. 

And yet, despite their iconic status among ageing liberal arts college grads and 17 year olds discovering r/mu for the first time, Beach House remains exciting and refreshingly relevant.

Their latest release, ‘Once Twice Melody’ is a double LP in the process of being released as four 4-track EPs. The second instalment was released on 8th December, rounding out the first half of the album and proving yet again why the duo has so much staying power. Disc 2 of ‘Once Twice Melody’ holds the type of almost oxymoronic expansive minimalism most often found in the later works of Phillip Glass, a dreaminess like falling asleep in the backseat of your parents’ car and waking up in your own bed. The EP is shimmering, futuristic yet familiar. 

Once Twice Melody’ could well be the most cinematic Beach House project yet. Perhaps the most apt comparison is to the late-night Animal Crossing soundtrack. The second track, ‘ESP’ is wandering and expansive, centring a rare but tactfully placed acoustic guitar that becomes slowly buried behind layers of soft, textured walls. The influence of Alan Moulder’s post production is clear— the industry legend not only mixed this album but also holds credits on ‘Loveless’ (My Bloody Valentine), ‘Automatic’ (The Jesus and Mary Chain), and ‘The Fragile’ (Nine Inch Nails). ‘New Romance’ further refines the Beach House sound, utilising a symphony of synthesisers to build a warm, layered soundscape as the vocal delivery reveals the track to be a cautious love song. The chorus waxes, “last night I’m messing up / now I feel like dressing up / ILYSFM” before the track melts into its final track.

On ‘Over and Over’, the final track of the EP and the close to the first half of the eventual album, careful listeners can detect a twinge of Kate Bush-style saccharine theatricality. Legend’s voice tells a tale of angels, flowers, and ending personal habits seemingly as fixed as the stars. As the track comes to a close, the intoxicatingly immersive sounds of Beach House yet again leave audiences wanting more. 

The third instalment of ‘Once Twice Melody’ is set to be released in January, with the final version of the album coming February 2022 followed by a five-month world tour.


Charlie Alexandra


Image: ‘Once Twice Melody’ Official Album Cover

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