Beach House Teen Dream

Beach HouseTeen Dream
Up to this point, Beach House have been the apple of critics' eyes, making it just about time for a good ol' blog-driven backlash. But that's not likely to happen, at least not yet. Like 2008's Devotion, the Baltimore, MD duo's third full-length and first for Sub Pop, Teen Dream improves on its predecessor, with Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally once again slow-waltzing through a hard-to-hate album of lovelorn pop. Yet this isn't the same Beach House we've heard before. No longer are the pair all about the atmosphere, hiding behind woozy drum machine rhythms and Hammond organ. Instead, Beach House flex some artistic muscle and, for the first time, shine the spotlight squarely on the songs themselves, as Legrand's increasingly powerful voice leads more direct and adventurous compositions, ranging from futurist country ("Mile Stereo') to wrist-cutting balladry ("Real Love") to glide-guitar-sporting shoegaze ("Norwary"). But this is no scattered collection of genre exercises, with Beach House always sounding like their unique selves through what may be their most solid effort to date. It all easily makes Teen Dream stand as one of the first major releases of the year, not to mention the decade. (Sub Pop)