Last week fans of Beach House got an early Christmas present with the announcement that just a mere two months after the release of the spectacular “Depression Cherry” the duo would release another full length album. “Thank Your Lucky Stars” is available for download Friday October 16th with the hard CD being release shortly thereafter. Beach House has always been iconoclastic about their music and releases and they are following their own path again with the surprise additional release, which is something like an unexpected present held back from a birthday party. Place it under the heading of too much is never enough.
“Thank Your Lucky Stars” was recorded at the same studio, “Studio in the Country” in Bogolusa, Louisiana as “Depression Cherry” and again co produced with their long time producer Chris Coady. It was written during the same time span as “Depression Cherry” from July 2014 to November of 2014. Alex Scally has said of the new release, “That it came together very quickly and was driven by lyrics and narrative”. Both members of the duo, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally also went on to further state that “Thank Your Luck Stars” is a great departure from their prior albums. To explain the suddenness in releasing the new album so close to “Depression Cherry” they stated, “… but something about the record made us what to release it without the normal campaign, we wanted it to simply enter the world and exist.” The end result is that there is more new Beach House output to enjoy and savor.
The duo has stated that “Thank Your Lucky Stars” is not a companion piece to “Depression Cherry” nor a surprise or b-sides complied together. I am not so sure about either the surprise which it certainly is to the listening public or that it is not a companion piece. The work if not a companion is certainly compatible with that of “Depression Cherry”. “Majorette” starts off the album with spiraling guitars and Legrand’s vocals both of which remain very much in keeping with Beach House’s signature sound. If you love “Depression Cherry” this song will help you glide into the new release. It is a lulling, floating song about being young and all of the choices being in front of you, “Majorette life is nothing yet, if there is nothing left to lose, you have somewhere to go.” The hypnotic “She’s So Lovely” is echo laden and sounds as if it had been recorded in a deep tunnel. There are distorted keyboards that almost sound as if they are played wrong at times making for a dreamy surreal feeling. Legrand provides a Nico like sedated vocal as she sings, “She’s so lovely everything about her.”
“All Your Yeahs” returns to a more recognizable Beach House sound. It has this ethereal feeling and is best described as a lulling nursery rhyme. Visions of fairies and pixies fluttering through the night come to mind as this neo-lullaby sings, “hush don’t you cry in the next life.” “One Thing” has an interesting intro with a wonky distorted keyboard and guitar. If it makes any sense I describe it as gritty but ephemeral. Legrand delivers with her crystalline vocals; “You walk along when the thing comes, our luck to just be”.
“Common Girl” departs from the signature keyboard of Beach House with a rococo harpsichord sound. Here the song describes a girl who is ordinary even when she falls into misfortune. But it is okay because she is one among many who never fulfills her dreams. “Promises never come through…well its okay because she is common in everyway.” The orchestration makes for an engaging song along with the discourse on being ordinary.
The next two songs, “The Traveller” and “Elegy in the Void” seem in some ways to be companion pieces. Both have a spacey interstellar feeling delivered by the otherworldly keyboards. “The Traveller” conveys a displaced feeling much like you experience when you are travelling. It also has that majestic Kate Bush sound from circa “Hounds of Love” era. The lyrics describe that off kilter feeling when one is in new surrounds and a bit disoriented, “ I’m just a traveler … there is a future invisible now.” “Elegy to the Void” is a bit more elegiac, “tell your sons and daughters bowing at the altar… don’t you disappear.” The song is dramatic and stirring especially as it build the drama in the second third of the song.
“Rough Song” has an industrial start but then morphs into a sound very reminiscent to the song “Days of Candy” off of “Depression Cherry”. The oscillating organ is the keystone to the song and is very emotionally evocative; “I want to forget all that wasn’t right… I need to leave.” The final song “Somewhere Tonight” has a droning waltz like rhythm accentuated by the repeating guitar coda. It is best described as a lullaby send off to the album. The song reminded me of solo female artist efforts in the 1930’s. It is a beautiful and amazing end to an unexpected bonus album.
In a short period of time Beach House has delivered a significant amount of music to be digested by fans and critics. Both albums are beautiful, insightful musical works. I applaud their singular audacity in the rapid release of these stellar works so soon after each other. “Thank Your Lucky Stars” works well with “Depression Cherry” but is a work fully capable of standing on its own. It will keep fans busy taking it all in for the next little while. “Thank Your Lucky Stars” is a worthy entry into the Beach House discography. It leaves me wondering where and what comes next for the duo, whatever it will be I am sure it will be just as enthralling.