20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Beach House’s Teen Dream by JohnCassillo

Beach House's Teen Dream is a beautiful account of young love and heartbreak

PREVIEW: STREAM Beach House’s “Norway”
WE GIVE IT: 18/20 Watts

Beach House‘s third full-length, Teen Dream, is a spectacle the likes of which will be hard to surpass in 2010. From the soaring, haunting chamber pop choruses, reminiscent of Grizzly Bear‘s Veckatimest, to the dreamy, pop landscapes it creates, the album is a testament to all that indie accomplished in 2009. And all it’s sure to accomplish in the coming year and beyond.

A deeply personal account of teenage emotions, Teen Dream plays to its title impeccably. The shuffling, nonchalant “Silver Soul” prods the issues at hand, while overall leaving them a mystery. Honest and heartfelt numbers like the 2008 single “Used to Be” and “Lover of Mine” take a more straightforward approach. The problems — mostly lost love and the subsequently forlorn existence — take form in their most crucial, vulnerable states. We see them for what the author sees them as, the crux of their young world.

Sympathetic, but not sappy, the album’s conclusion seems to come to grips with the aforementioned emotional issues in the most natural way possible. Progressing to a point of peace, “Real Love” and “Take Care” are at ease with the situation, and all it has wrought. There’s an enviable calm here for those with less-than-fond memories of teenaged love. But just like in real life, it appears the only place to go from the end, is back to some semblance of the start.

Beach House presents Teen Dream in a world completely removed from reality, but similarly engrossed in it at the same time. Its spacious distance keeps you guessing. Its raw honesty, and bouts with extreme emotion attach a human identity rarely discovered in music of late. Of course you know the story, the players and the ending, but still, you can’t look away. There’s just too much truth trapped within the mesmerizing soundscapes and vocal excellence of this album to accept any other outcome. To the fragile realities of the teenage psyche, your latest soundtrack may await.

— John Cassillo

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