Published Oct 16, 2015Of all the artists speculated to have surprise albums coming out this year (Drake, Kanye West), few would have expected Baltimore's Beach House to be one of them. Less than two months ago, they dropped their excellent fifth album, Depression Cherry, via the usual three-month promotional cycle. Announced via Twitter just last week, Thank Your Lucky Stars, is now officially the band's sixth studio album.
Written after Depression Cherry yet recorded during the same sessions, the band are calling it a "great departure" from their last few records. They aren't far off with that comment: from Teen Dream to Depression Cherry, the ever-reliable Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand have built themselves a canon of stunningly wistful dream pop.
Thank Your Lucky Stars feels like the after-effects of recording Depression Cherry. Obviously, the duo were still buzzing with creative juices, but what was left in the bottom of that album's well was only enough to make something slightly diluted by comparison. Nothing here grabs you quite like "Myth," "Sparks" or "Used To Be" did on their respective albums, so while these nine songs are all gorgeously produced, they tend to emanate and then flow into one another without providing that dizzying effect we've come to expect from Beach House. The standout here is the closer, the '50s teen ballad-sounding "Somewhere Tonight," which arrives far too late, and after the songs have all receded into background music. It's essentially the album Beach House detractors have been describing for years now.
Acknowledging that this is not a companion to Depression Cherry, Beach House would have been better off delaying this release until the new year — maybe fresher ears would have been more open to it. As Radiohead fans remember, getting Amnesiac eight months after Kid A was a wonderful treat. Thank Your Lucky Stars is definitely a treat — we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, as another new Beach House album is always welcome — but arriving so soon after Depression Cherry, it is bound to get lost in the shadow of its predecessor because frankly, it isn't nearly as compelling. (Sub Pop)