REVIEW: Beach House – Once Twice Melody

The music of the American duo Beach House is a vessel for dramatic and cinematic feelings; anything but simple, the deeply layered synthesizers and breathy vocals of the band create a soundscape so dreamlike and meditative that listening nearly becomes an out-of-body experience. Often labeled as “dream pop”, a genre combining pop melodies with dense effects and experimentation reminiscent of 90s shoegaze, Beach House’s distinct psychedelic sound has achieved incredible commercial success. The enchanting melancholia of “Space Song” earned the track 300 million streams on Spotify. In 2022, they return to the world of music with a highly anticipated eighth studio album, Once Twice Melody.

The album is divided into four chapters–– or discs–– which are released periodically. The second chapter was released on December 8th, and the upcoming two chapters are set to be released by February. Judging by the half of the album that is already available, containing stellar tracks such as the surreal title track “Once Twice Melody”, the album is set to be one of Beach House’s best–– both conceptually and production-wise. The introduction of each track is reminiscent of a film score set in space; layered strings and experimental glimmering sounds evoke an atmosphere rich in color, existentialism, and a deep longing for the past. The vague and breathy lyrics, when decipherable, suggest deep retrospection and romantic tragedy. The lyrics of “Pink Funeral” on Disc 1 mirror the poetic artistry of the sound itself:

 

“Once was a fairy tale
Then it all went to hell
Swans on a starry lake
Hearts that were made to break
Tears through a white lace veil”

 

From the relatability of lost love in “Runaway” to the inevitable end of whirlwind fling in “New Romance”, Beach House balances their experimental sound with accessible themes and messages. Their most powerful messages, however, are found less in the lyrics than in the outros and instrumentals; marked by the slow build of reverberating sparkling melodies and fuzzy echoes, the sound of Beach House only seems fitting for observing the uncompromising mysteries of space and embracing the beauty of the unknown. The theme of love paired with the dark magical ambiance creates a stark contrast; while singing about the fallibility of humanity, the music explores a celestial landscape that transcends human matters.

Whether pondering the paradoxes of existence or lingering on a failed love story, Beach House’s ethereal release Once Twice Melody has a track to accompany your introspection. The excitement has just begun–– fans of the first two discs can eagerly await the second half of the album, offering a slower process of enjoying the art form. The first two discs of the EP are currently available on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms.

Just one day after the planned release of the last disc, Beach House comes to Detroit to perform at the Royal Oak Theatre. Get tickets while you can to enjoy the music in person on February 19th–– or, if Once Twice Melody speaks to you, consider exploring the rest of Beach House’s discography.

avameester

Ava is a current freshman majoring in Art and Design at Stamps. Her love for the arts extends to jewelry making, weird films, and just about anything else that feeds the brain's hunger for creativity.

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