Remember that scene in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” when Rufus shows them the future and everything’s perfect and there’s this crazy music playing in a weird temple?
Okay, that wasn’t Beach House, it was “In Time” by Robbie Rob, but it should have been, because that’s what I imagine when I hear this Baltimore duo’s sumptuous third EP, released by SubPop on May 15th. Like some sort of utopian choir living inside a pipe-organ-future-temple.
The male-female vocals sound as though you’re hearing them from the inside of a womb—echoey, remote, but wise and comforting, with lush, parental harmonies. Ever-present drum machine beats offset the eerie drone effects of the synth/organ, throbbing bass lines and wavy guitars. They take their time, deliberately adding layer upon layer of sound, driving verses (and the listener) to the brink, until their chorus bursts triumphantly open like some jungle flower in the steaminess of it all. (Get it? Bloom?)
My favorite track is “Lazuli”, which makes me feel as though I’m dozing next to a waterfall. The beginning dissonant “ahhhhs” of “The Hours” sound like a nod to the Beatles’ “Because” and fool me every time, but then the track goes in a totally different direction. The lyrics are simple but hit poignant nerves too: “Other people want to keep in touch/something happens and it’s not enough/never thought that it would mean so much”, they advise, and I am tempted to tell all of my faraway friends how much I love them, just in case.
Bloom’s overall effect is gauzy, summery and lavish, reminiscent of ’80s synth-pop, but still progressive and thoroughly absorbing. I’ve already used this album as a morning workout and a “walking on the beach marveling at how great life is” soundtrack several times, and I highly recommend trying it.
The effect is relief and exhilaration. Pure joy tinged with this sort of…ominous sadness. Like the day after a mountaineer summits Everest or an athlete wins Olympic gold. A bride on the day after the wedding.
I found myself smiling about how music can be this beautiful, but also reminding myself I should remember these moments and save them up like rainwater because I shouldn’t expect it to get much better than the top of the mountain, the podium, the altar. Out there, beyond my headphones, is a world full of Ke$has and Pitbulls, just waiting to suck.
The future may not be certain, but I know I’d rather spend it with Beach House than those guys. Or Keanu Reeves. George Carlin could be there, though. That’d be cool.