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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Going to the “Great Beyond” with Beach House’s latest, Depression Cherry


    Depression Cherry by Beach House

    Close your eyes. Let go of everything. Everything. Now listen. If you listen long enough, detaching yourself from this world, the melodies of dream-pop duo Beach House will meet you in that strange in-between place.

    Depression Cherry, the band’s fifth studio LP, promises to take you on a journey from that eerily pleasant area of consciousness.

    More than ever before, Depression Cherry embraces the ‘dream’ aspect of Beach House’s dream-pop. The album name illustrates the progression into the farther reaches of the ineffable.

    The title of each previous album — Beach House, Devotion, Teen Dream, Bloom — carried airy connotations, whereas Depression Cherry jumps the fence into the completely ethereal and esoteric, if not nonsensical.

    Then again, what else would progression look like for Beach House? After all, they are a band that delves so far into right brain territory that their very name came about from pure feeling alone. Alex Scally, half of the Beach House duo, once described the process of deciding on a name in an interview with About Entertainment.

    “We tried to intellectualize it, and it didn’t work. There were different plant-names, Wisteria, that kind of thing. Stupid stuff. But, once we stopped trying, it just came out, it just happened. And it just seemed perfect.”

    Beach House is the product of the purely instinctual and natural. Completely removing human neuroticism from the equation results in the beautifully abstract melodies knitting together Depression Cherry.

    Although the album continues the through line of instinctual music, it acts as a shift in direction for Beach House. The familiar sounds are there. Drum machines, organs and slide guitar, along with waves and waves of reverb. The album carries a lesser quantity of these signature elements, but the stripped down product promises more.

    “Levitation”, the first and best track of the new album, issues this simple promise.

    “Levitation” captures the essence, beauty, and indescribable otherness of Beach House. Victoria Legrand’s falsetto voice invites us, singing, “There’s a place I want to take you when the unknown will surround you.” The invitation promises a journey to Beach House’s habitat: nowhere describable, just beyond.

    The “beyond” that hypnotized listeners will nod their head to the steady rhythm of an organ backed by staccato drums. The chosen method of transportation: an effortless levitation, leaving the anchors of gravity in an act as natural as breathing.

    Unfortunately, true transportation is never achieved. The constant drone of instrumentation in “Levitation” and other songs grounds us, leaving the listener unable to fully follow Beach House out beyond their dreamy atmosphere.

    It wouldn’t be a Beach House record without dreamy imagery percolating throughout sparse lyrics. The track “Beyond Love” offers lyrical highlights, “I’m gonna tear off all the petals from the rose that’s in your mouth” and “… in the corner with the spiders made of night.”

    Beach House continues to defy explicit description and be more accurately captured within the process of elimination. The duo is not concrete, instead choosing to pursue the dimension of the abstract that springs out of our uncontrollable inner selves. In “Bluebird”, Legrand deposits this idea: “Even I can’t control my nature.”

    Depression Cherry explores the dreamy atmosphere of the subconscious while guided by unbridled nature.

    The finale track “Days of Candy” attempts to end the album’s ethereal journey with a bang. The song laments that a trip as other-worldly and indescribable as one filled with “Days of Candy” cannot last forever. Just as quickly as “Levitation” took off, “Days of Candy” promises to pop the dream: “Just like that, it’s gone.”

    “Days of Candy” proves to be the album’s biggest falter. The attempted grand finale, filled with choral voices and space-like synths, falls flat while banishing the listener back to the conscious world once again.

    Attempting to describe Depression Cherry encapsulates futility. It’s like trying to nail whispers to a wall; the process murders the product.

    Instead, your time is better spent elsewhere. In a quiet room, with eyes closed, letting the mind wander to an in-between place of consciousness while hitting play on Depression Cherry.

    Rating: B

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