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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Review: Beach House’s new release is “Depression Cherry’s” sadder twin

    A month and a half. A lot can happen in a month and a half. Grades rise and fall­—mostly fall—seasons change and Kanye West announces he’s running for president in 2020. So it goes.

    One thing that rarely happens in the span of a month and a half: two new albums from one great band. 

    In the age of the Internet, surprises have become scarce. The Internet detectives, made up of millions of users with nothing better to do than snoop around, are a powerful force in 2015. To everyone’s great surprise, the detectives discovered a second newly released album from a great band last week. Just a month and a half after the release of Depression Cherry, Beach House decided to treat everyone to a double dose of the dream-pop duo. Thank Your Lucky Stars drops today.

    The surprise album drop is not a new maneuver. Plenty of high-profile artists, including Beyoncé, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and even Drake, with his surprise 2015 release, woke up one day and thought “Yep, today is the day to unexpectedly blow everyone’s mind.” 

    Beach House has decided to join that club with an obviously planned but unannounced turnaround album.
    Perhaps the closest example to Beach House’s move comes from fellow indie darling Sufjan Stevens, who returned from a four-year pseudo hiatus with a completely unannounced, sprawling 60-minute EP, All Delighted People and two months later added the LP The Age of Adz. 

    While Stevens’ albums represented a massive shift in sound when compared to each other, Thank Your Lucky Stars is similar enough to Depression Cherry that it could easily be considered the second half of one overarching double album. That album’s suggested title: Thank Your Lucky Depression Cherry, Now with Two Times the Old Amount of Beach House. It’s got a nice ring to it… or not.

    To save you some time, I’ll summarize this review of the leaked album as such: if you liked Depression Cherry, you’ll like Thank Your Lucky Stars. Simple as that, really. The two albums work not as mirrors, but as fraternal twins; similar enough to suggest an obvious lineage, but not identical.

    Whereas Depression Cherry came across as ethereal and ambivalent, Thank Your Lucky Stars feels more downtempo and melancholic. The difference is subtle, but the tracks compound to exaggerate the albums’ tones. 

    Beach House hallmarks pop up as always: tracks drowning in oceans of reverb, syncopated drum loops and whimsical vocals. After all, Beach House is more or less the gold standard of dream-pop bands and Thank Your Lucky Stars shows that the band still deserves to bear that title. 

    Heavy is the head that wears the crown, unless it’s the crown of dream pop, in which case I assume the crown would feel weightless and emit soothing synth sounds when touched. Thank Your Lucky Stars lacks stand-out tracks that reach the same heights of “Levitation” or “Space Song” off of Depression Cherry. 

    Unlike Depression Cherry, which finds its strongest tracks on the front end, Thank Your Lucky Stars saves its best for last. The latter half of the album, beginning with “The Traveller” and ending with “Somewhere Tonight,” can compete with any previous Beach House album sequence.

    On the whole, I prefer the firstborn of Beach House’s 2015 progeny. However, this could be a result of having listened to Depression Cherry somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 times to date. I’ve grown to love Depression Cherry, but I’ve only just met Thank Your Lucky Stars. Depression Cherry sounds like the name of a wine and has aged well as time progresses. I assume Thank Your Lucky Stars will do the very same.

    Rating: B-
     

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