First published on 1 Jun 2012. Updated on 1 Jun 2012.
Bloom behaves as a gas, expanding to fill the space in which you play it. When I first listened on little earbuds, the music-box guitars and antique drum machines felt dainty. Last weekend, I overheard it spinning in a bookstore, where the record hung over 33,000 square feet like a silver fog. That’s their trick, isn’t it, to sound grandiose and intimate? Given time and volume, Beach House’s spellbinding fourth convinces you it is their master statement. Victoria Legrand’s voice is more like a male falsetto. In her drunken androgyny, she sounds hoarse, as if she ran into the vocal booth after a screaming fight with her husband. When Alex Scally quickly strums his guitar like it's a mandolin, it sounds like Italian mourning ballads, as played by Vangelis. Keyboard and guitar arpeggios flutter downward in slow fugues. The duo has real melodic smarts. I’m guessing they own some Bach CDs.