By Jamila Pomeroy
VANCOUVER – Earlier this year, Beach House released their newest album, 7, breaking into a more expansive, heavy and immersive soundscape. The dream-pop founders, known for hauntingly beautiful vocals, dreamy guitars and organs, paired up with Panda Bear and MGMT producer Peter Kember (aka Sonic Boom); sweeping the band into a new realm of daydreams.
“7, happened very swiftly, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we are much more experienced than when we first started. We have a lot of tools, a lot of new ideas, and we worked with new people- there was a lot of newness,” says front-woman Victoria Legrand. James Barone, the bands new live drummer, has added a new depth of heaviness to the album with drums that could be compared to post-punk and shoegaze drummer, Colm Ó Cíosóig (My Bloody Valentine). “I think the most inspiring thing right off the bat with this record is just how much everything felt different,” says Legrand. And that difference was undoubtedly translated to the ears of listeners. Beach House has always had this capability of breeding nostalgia through sound and creating layers of longing. Creating a sense of arrival through the new album; that longingness appears to be melting away, holding feelings of nostalgia close like warm beachy memories, sundrenched in sounds that breed the ease and happiness of a warm summer day spent relaxing in the sand. 7, is the vacation beach house overlooking the serene ocean we have been lusting over since Teen Dream.
While 7 may be wildly expansive, Legrand’s outlook on life and creative practice is based in whole-hearted simplicity.“I think when you look out too much you get lost. There are a lot of distractions with social media and the Internet. It’s a very overwhelming century on many levels with over-stimulation. We put a lot of faith in nature, work, friendships, and family, and just basic kindness and stability- the smaller things in life that I think are going to be true. I think we have always gone from the inside, out, in terms of what we make. When it comes to working on music, people ask us, ‘what were you listening to when you made this record?’- and honestly, we are listening to music, but we aren’t approaching from the exterior to the interior.”
Legrand explains the bands creative process is based their openness to child-like discovery and imagination. “Every record we make, there are new sounds on; there are new keyboards, new synths. We are not using the same, exact keyboards. We are not vintage gear heads, we’re not collecting rare, expensive things. We’re just sort of falling in love with instruments as we find them. When a child plays with a spinning top, they aren’t asking the question ‘why am I playing with this top?’ they just do it because it brings them joy […] You discover by playing, and not playing by music, but playing in terms of curiosity.”
This child-like openness to curiosity and sincere untainted expression translates deep into the band’s creative essence and way of life. “Everybody has an imagination, every human that is born. When you’re a child you don’t think about it. You are inside of it because you don’t have many experiences. You’re just sort of this bubble bumping around and there is a natural sort of psychedelia that you are sort of just in.” This realization, or understanding, could possibly be related to the thicker and darker soundscapes found in songs such as “Dark Spring.”
While 7 possess a new sense of arrival, maturity, and sophistication, reflective of the state of the modern world; Legrand entertains the beauty in the many layers of paradox between a child-like innocence and inevitable growth, and a critical understanding of the modern world. “You are born into blindness and your senses are all skewed; you don’t have anything sharpened yet. Everybody has this sense of imagination, we just have experiences that dull that down, or they lose it, or they don’t have to tap into it because of what their life requires of them. We are lucky because we sort of live out of our imagination.”
Beach House performs at the Orpheum Theatre (Vancouver) on August 12