Music Review: Depression Cherry by Beach House (2015)

Release: 28 August 2015
Release: 28 August 2015
Wikipedia calls it Dream Pop, but I wasn’t even sure what that was until I listened to the newest release by Beach House and I have to say, it is incredibly fitting. One might argue that Beach House is a Dream Pop band and their albums reflect this, but with this new album Depression Cherry I feel they are venturing further into Shoegaze territory. Shoegaze generally requires a very specific mood to listenable. If the mood strikes and a Shoegaze album clicks, I feel it will never let go. When they click the can become instant classics, but when they don’t the listener is likely to fall asleep. The more Shoegaze tracks of Depression Cherry clicked with me immediately and left me in a lovestruck stupor. This new release is a really beautiful experience that I think everyone should try.

I first discovered Beach House with their 2010 release of Teen Dream. The album was extremely hyped, and after listening I felt the hype was warranted. Teen Dream is another really appealing album, but unfortunately I rarely find myself returning to it. Two years later they released Bloom. Bloom is often raved about on my usual sources of music news and discussions, but it never succeeded in capturing my attention. Finally, with this new release, I feel that Beach House has lived up to their potential and produced an album that will one day be called classic. I hope I’m right, I think it deserves it.

The Tracks:

“Levitation” – The album starts off with an enrapturing song. It hooked me right from the start and succeeded in immersing me in a Beach House atmosphere. It is a beautiful piece of Shoegaze that is so good it made me worry if the rest of the album would be a let down.

“Sparks” – I didn’t think it was possible but the second track is just as phenomenal as “Levitation”. Again it is quite heavy on Shoegaze vocals, but the opening instrumentals are much more Rock styled. “Sparks” is sonically gorgeous and possibly the most memorable song on the album. It would probably be my go to track to try and hook a new listener.

“Space Song” – After the lofty mark set by tracks 1 and 2 it seemed impossible that track 3 would be an improvement, and at first listen it wasn’t. With each subsequent listen to the album this track has impressed me more and more. I’ve listened to Depression Cherry many times by now and “Space Song” has become my favorite.

“Beyond Love” – The first three tracks are incredibly memorable. This is only a feat when you consider how much the previous Beach House albums blur together. “Beyond Love” continues this pattern. It follows the same slightly Shoegaze meets Pop sound but still somehow presents it in a uniquely memorable package. It isn’t quite as good as the first three tracks, but I’d still say better than anything on Bloom or Teen Dream (except for maybe “Zebra”).

“10:37” – Somehow “10:37” continues to establish this as Beach House’s masterpiece. It is a lovely slow track that builds into some lovely melodic departures and then returns to its slower verse. It makes for a strangely soothing experience. That said it is still a little step below the 4 prior tracks.

“PPP” – This is where Beach House goes a bit more traditional. “PPP” sounds like it could be from any of their previous albums. It would fit perfectly on Teen Dream and would still be one of the better tracks on the album. With this track they go a bit longer, but it feels a bit more like a journey. There are some specific parts in the chorus and instrumentation that catch in my memory, but still it is another little step down from amazing territory into simply great.

“Wildflower” – Track 7 isn’t quite as memorable as the others. It is still an equally beautiful track, but fails to present anything too unique. The guitar is lovely and the vocals are their usual quality, but the track just seems less interesting than their other songs. I would consider this to be the low point on the album.

“Bluebird” – After a track that was a bit more bland than the rest of the album, Beach House proves that it was just a fluke. The instrumentals in “Bluebird” are fantastic and enough to carry the whole song. The song presents a greater diversity in sound than any of the others. Its change in pacing is a welcome change after the albums most forgettable track.

“Days Of Candy” – Though I hear lots of rave things about the albums close, it doesn’t sit as well with me. It is a boring way to end an amazing album. It is heavy on the Shoegaze, but it isn’t done as well as previous tracks. One thing that track has going for it is that it sounds like a goodbye but builds into something much more hopeful sounding. Though the track starts off weak I still think it would be one of the better tracks from any of their past albums.

So that is my break down. My final verdict is that Depression Cherry is a masterpiece. Everyone should give it a listen. It proves how talented Beach House is, and how long they are going to stick with us. I know I will be listening to this album for years to come. Don’t get me wrong, their other albums are great, but not as clearly classics in my book. Depression Cherry sets the bar for Beach House. Lucky for me they just announced the release of their second album this year on October 16. I’m incredibly excited to hear Thank Your Lucky Stars, though if it wasn’t for Depression Cherry I’d only have a mild interest. For Depression Cherry I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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