Beach House – Bloom

Published on 7th July 2012 in Music
Part of the “30 Day Challenges: The Album Club” post series

Supposed to be listening to Vows by Kimbra today, but I didn’t pay attention to the fact that, even though it’s been out for nearly a year in New Zealand, it’s not out here until the end of the month. Bummer.

So I’m shuffling with Bloom by Beach House.

The other thing about today is that I’m going to see one of my favourite artists – Laura Marling – play at the Royal Albert Hall. A point has been made that there won’t be any support acts, and that, should one not want to miss the start of the show, one should make sure that one is there in good time.

Where am I going with this? Well – despite their longevity and success with prior albums, Bloom paints Beach House to be the embodiment of a support act: A lot of the time, they aren’t memorable, you can’t hear what they’re singing, and they simply serve to get you more excited about the headliner!

Bloom is nice. I like the ambience, and the space, and the way that the instruments are used. I would describe it as Glasvegas-y, without the regional, anthemic charm. Where I take issue with it is really just that it never really fulfils its potential to ebb and flow with periods of intimacy contrasted with periods of intensity. The programmed drums make it all a little stale to me.

Favourite track? Other People. I can hear a hook. But it would be a filler on a better album. Or Maybe New Year which has a kind of driving rhythm to it. It’s just all so level and unchallenging though.

The album stopped playing after On The Sea – the penultimate song. It felt very conclusive, and I thought that would effectively be the end of the album, with a long silence followed by an extra track at the end of 17 minute long Irene. In fact Irene does jump straight in, and what had happened is that I had lost my internet connection.

But that’s my point. Any one of those songs could have ended this album. It’s all very anonymous, and all the songs just wither to the same endings. I’m not sure there’s even much tempo variation. It almost feels like they set a metronome ticking, and played through the night without turning it off.

I wasn’t too surprised to hear this was released on Sub Pop, whose records I often like. But it is alternative, and niche.

I don’t dislike Bloom actively. There’s definitely a place for music like this. It’s incidental really; like, perfect for film & tv soundtracks! I guess what really gets me going is music with emotion, and that can mean a lot of things, from lyrical content to a heartfelt performance, to a confident groove.

I think Bloom falls into a ‘detached’ emotional category; so whether it’s not there, or I just can’t see it, it seems to make me say “Cool. Now, I can’t wait for the headline act.”

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