Beach House's decision to call this record Bloom is almost too perfect. Over the course of four albums that's exactly what this band has done. Two people from Baltimore started by making incense-smelling, curtains-drawn bedroom pop. Now, eight years later, they make luminous, sky-sized songs that conjure some alternate universe where Cocteau Twins have headlined every stadium on Atlantis. "Bloom" is also what these 10 songs do, each one starting with the sizzle of a lit fuse and at some fine moment exploding like a firework in slow motion. The word captures the music's slow sonority: the round, gleaming edges of Alex Scally's arpeggios and how, in Victoria Legrand's unhurried mouth, all words seem to have a few extra vowels.
Bloom doesn't stray far from the structure or the emotional tenor of its predecessor. It finds the band making small, sharp adjustments to its craft, but these shifts are so subtle it takes a few listens for them to sink in. The songwriting is tighter, yet the atmosphere feels more diffuse; the lyrics are more straightforward, yet they're somehow suggestive of larger things. By just about every measure, Bloom's wingspan is fuller than anything Beach House have done before.
RIYL Animal Collective, Cocteau Twins
- Other People
- The Hours
- New Year
- On the Sea