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Criticism: Beach House’s ‘Become’

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The dream-pop duo Beach House has released “Become,” which expands off of their previous experimental projects. 

Rating: 5/10

All throughout the history of pop and rock, there are scarcely any bands that are as special as Beach House. The dream-pop duo, famous for their spaced out and melancholy style, came out with their first stand alone extended play, or EP, “Become,” this past April 22.

A well known name today, Beach House made their debut all the way back in 2006 as a small-time indie act from Baltimore. But with the release of the 2012 masterpiece, “Bloom,” they became the face of dream-pop.

The duo, composed of singer and keyboardist Victoria LeGrand and guitarist Alex Scally, are easily recognized by the heavily distorted yet heavenly tracks.

The most recent release from Beach House was a massive one hour and 24 minute long album, “Once Twice Melody,” which saw the two explore what was then uncharted territory for the band. The use of acoustic guitars and a heavy emphasis on dream-pop’s folk roots, as well as some synthesizers thrown in there, characterized the album.

Their latest project, “Become,” is an opportunity for the band to expand off of their recent experiments. 

The EP opens with “American Daughter,” which has a uniquely dissonant tone that usually is not found in their very soft discography. Still, the band makes use of the eerie chords and vocal disharmony to build up to a powerful climactic clash of both high energy drums and drawn-out, echoing guitars. 

The second track “Devil’s Pool” seems like a throwback song to the band’s earlier days, especially those of their 2010 album “Teen Dream.” Much slower and stagnant than the previous track, “Devil’s Pool” is a casual, laid-back tune that exhibits some of LeGrand’s powerful vocal abilities with a catchy chorus.

The EP soon loses a bit of its momentum by the third track, “Holiday House.” The song is not bad, but the synthesizer loops are not anything special, and definitely get boring during the five-minute runtime. The vocals similarly are fine, but do not really lead anywhere. It works as background music, and not much else.

The fourth track “Black Magic,” has everything that would make a Beach House song great, but falls just short. Reverbed guitar loops, dreamy vocals with a soft harmonization in the background, but the song just does not seem all that thought out. It comes across more as a demo track, and would stand out as being especially forgettable if it was on an album like “Bloom.”

The titular song closes the EP, and while being one of the more simpler songs, actually presents some interesting tones and sounds in a subtle way. Utilizing acoustic guitars as well as typical dream-pop synthesizers, an ambient yet very uplifting backing loop is created for LeGrand’s swaying vocals. It’s a solid song and performs as a nice closer to “Become.”

If this EP had come from nearly any other band, it would be much more monumental, but for Beach House, it ultimately seems like a halfway checkpoint between “Once Twice Melody,” and whatever album is to drop in the near future. It is enjoyable, but in the grand context of the discography, not very notable.

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