This time last year, the buzz was already building around ‘Teen Dream‘. How good could it really be? Was it worth all of the Internet whispers? Could it possibly live up to the hype. Very, yes and yes, as it goes. The woozy album of the summer made its debut in late January and still managed to sound exactly like the record of the moment. It is possible to become a little addicted to parts of ‘Teen Dream’ thanks to its irresistible combination of exceptional earworms and frankly decadent helpings of melody. It’s a gorgeous pick-me-up and a pristine way to unwind. It even sounds surprisingly effective when the temperature’s hovering around the -10 mark.
Whether it’s the delicious harmonies of ‘Used To Be’ or the quite deliberately wonky slide guitar effect which runs through ‘Norway’, this album is imbued with a hugely endearing playful side. And that’s not simply a polite way of excusing the lyric, "black and white horse, arching among us" in ‘Zebra‘.
Like the Beach Boys playing through gauze – and with a female vocalist – Beach House can be almost too saccharine on the first encounter but, as with Teenage Fanclub, Trashcan Sinatras and ‘Rubber Soul’, sometimes you need that endorphin packed rush on standby. You’ll be wanting to file ‘Teen Dream’ somewhere close to ‘Songs From Northern Britain’.
This album also demonstrates Beach House‘s capacity for the epic. ‘Real Love’ may begin with a simple piano line but as soon as Victoria Legrand launches into a startlingly impassioned vocal, things move up several gears and it feels like you’re listening to an obscure vintage soul outtake. Is a flooring performance and a neat trick to have tucked up the ‘near-the-end-of-album’ sleeve. No drop off in quality on this little beauty.
*Apologies for departing from the usual cover image shot above but ‘Teen Dream’ barely shows up on a white background so I’ve opted for this rather than make it look like I’ve somehow fucked it up. Again.