Mar 08, 2012, 06:15AM

Keep On Keepin' On

Beach House's new single is more of the same, thank God.

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Quiet for almost a year since the completion of their tour in support of Teen Dream, Baltimore’s Beach House reemerged Tuesday night in characteristically demure fashion. Posted on their Twitter was a link to their website, accompanied by a simple “hello again.” The band’s website, beachhousebaltimore.com, contains a download of their new single, “Myth.”

In modern alternative music, an unfortunate trend has arisen wherein a band, having achieved a certain level of popularity, looks to “expand” upon their sound, simply because they feel they’ve earned the right to experimentation or are pressured into it.
Nine times out of 10, such alterations do more harm than good. Just ask the aughts’ garage rock revival poster boys The Strokes, whose most recent album Angeles was an embarrassing exercise in attempting to fuse the style that made them famous with cacophonous 80s synth-pop. That’s why it’s comforting when a great band like Beach House embraces the age-old concept “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Singer-songwriter and keyboardist Victoria Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally have proven it’s possible to embrace a particular genre or sound and not stray from it, but expound upon it. The duo has demonstrated incremental improvement across each of their three albums, rightfully earning the breakthrough they received with 2010’s Teen Dream, its first with Sub-Pop.

In fact, “Myth” draws upon and evolves elements of a handful of Teen Dream’s strongest songs. The opening and recurring guitar riff, simplistic yet catchy, is not unlike Scally’s in “10 Mile Stereo.” The crescendo of the four-word refrain “help me to make it” recalls “Silver Soul”’s  Twin Peaks nod, “it is happening again.” The tempo, however, is closer to that of the slowed “Take Care.”

Legrand’s lyrics are as terse and cryptic, and her voice, as hauntingly beautiful, as ever. The song details a person’s fall from grace, having over-extended expectations and capabilities as though they were part of some sort of “myth.” And, because it is Beach House, there are intimations of a relationship gone awry. “Myth” is a promising single and, I hope, a foreshadowing of what’s to come on Bloom when it is released in May.


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