ALBUM REVIEW: Beach House - Once Twice Melody

8/10

Beach House - Once Twice Melody

Beach House fans have had an impatient three-year wait for the duo’s newest slice of Vaporwave/Dream Pop. The wait is over with Beach House’s release of Once, Twice Melody, a double album stacked full of what the duo does best, providing sweeping soundscapes. The album has been released in three snippets over the last few months, with the final and fourth release finalising the entire album on February 18 of this year.

Once, Twice Melody marks the first time Beach House innovators Victoria Le Grand and Alex Scully have self-produced one of their albums. The prolific pair generated 18 tracks that continue to convey their grand and unique vision of life and impassioned beauty. Overall, the album is panoramic yet always intimate, holding individual meaning for the listener. The duo also continues their pursuit of experimental sounds that are balanced by lyrics that are instantly relatable.

Numerous songs on the release provide glimmers of the whole cinematic picture, and then the tracks pull back as the image vanishes into the ether of the sonic waves. The tracks effortlessly swing from daydream like vignettes to reality, providing escapism, existentialist ideology and aching nostalgia. An overriding theme to the album is humankind’s fallibility counterpoised by celestial perfection, all captured within the tracks.

The 18 tracks on Once, Twice Melody display a broad palette of sonics the duo utilises. The eponymous open track sets the pace with lovely acoustic guitars and sun-dappled wonky synths. What is surprising is the slightly sturdier underpinning of many of the tracks with fantastic drums and bass foundations, like those on “Pink Funeral, Runaway, and Masquerade”. But tracks like “Superstar, Through Me, and Illusion of Forever” continue to provide the original expansive, vapour filled etherealness fans of Beach House expect.

The album is full of an embarrassment of riches. One of the standout tracks is “Sunset”, with its gloaming-like atmospherics enhanced by the acoustic guitar and an almost western feel. Counter positioned to this is “Hurts to Love”, which has a funky 60’s dance party vibe done by Beach House. The track contained a pulled around Wurlitzer organ along with serious synth accompaniments. Le Grand’s voice harkens to Nico and the Velvet Underground making for a magnificent selection as she sings,” If it hurts to love, better do it anyway.”  The final track, “Modern Love Stories”, caps off the release with a wonky pulled around sound as the track expands into infinity. The topic of the never-ending circle of life and how it applies to romance is apt for the final offering and is a grand closer.

Once, Twice Melody is not an album the listener can blast through. The release demands headphones and is best taken in small doses. The prior rollout of the release in chapters allows the listener to savour and enjoy each segment. Beach House provides an environment filled with atmospherics that transports you to another one of their visions throughout the recording. With Once, Twice Melody, LeGrand and Scally take on an immense project that is universal in scope but ultimately personal. With the release, they again prove they are the king and queen of Dream Pop displaying all their wares in this challenging project. Fans of the Beach House will not be disappointed, and new listeners will be blown away by the growing abilities of the pair to wow with their epic works.

 

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