Depression Cherry: A Refreshing Take on Beach House’s Trademark Sound

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In their fourth album, released last week, Beach House sticks to their guns and maintains their trademark sound. The group from Baltimore, composed of musicians Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, produces music within the realm of dream pop or psychedelic electronic pop. 

The summery wash of sound characteristic of their work reappears in Depression Cherry; the album is deceptively similar to their previous works, especially Teen Dream. The synth keyboard and soft backing vocals have been constant throughout their albums. Although several songs such as “Sparks” break the routine of the album, the initial effect of Depression Cherry is one of uniformity. The melancholic, yet almost joyful tone of the music belies the subject of Beach House’s works; more often than not, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally bemoan their broken hearts.

Despite these similarities, Depression Cherry does deviate somewhat from its predecessors. Beach House seems to have evolved toward a more urgent, harsher sound in certain songs– this urgency, however, makes intermittent appearances throughout the album the way the tide washes up on a beach. The sound is rawer and ultimately more tantalizing; “Levitation” successfully transports the listener with the repeated line “there’s a place I want to show you,” while the drumming and mysterious lyrics in “10:37” simultaneously comforts and intrigues. The final piece, “Days of Candy” could draw tears with its vocals reminiscent of an old religious chant.

At first listen, Depression Cherry is unfortunately similar to the rest of Beach House’s work, but small tweaks in the melodies produced a unique compilation of songs. The album beams with a delicate energy, stemming from the light vocal track and the sparing use of distinguishable instruments. Their trademark sound, which seems to envelop the listener in a blanket of softly sung lyrics, complements the contents of the record. Depression Cherry highlights both the value and pain of loss, while distancing itself from outright grief. It’s a sort of a musical carpe diem as well as an elegy for travel and the fleeting moments we experience.

This quote from PPP sums up the longing, resigned, and delicate tone of the album:

“Someone once told me

In love, that you must

Place all you’re given

In infinite trust

Yet I’m tracing figure eights

On ice in skates so well

And if this ice should break

It would be

My mistake”

Rating: 14/20

Listen to the new album here :


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