Beach House: Once Twice Melody Album Review

todayFebruary 9, 2022 107 5

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By Clara Blankenship
Music Journalist

I am always torn on what to listen to on a long drive. A playlist, maybe? An album? On a recent drive home, I decided to shuffle the New Releases playlist on Spotify, hoping to find some fresh music. A new Beach House album began playing, and I was immediately taken on a wonderful musical journey that, thankfully, livened up the usually dull drive on I-35.

I have always been a fan of Beach House. Their sound is unique in that it is layered and full but manages to remain delicate and lyrical. This EP, Once Twice Melody, is no exception.

Band members Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally released their long-awaited EP on Jan. 19, 2022. A cacophony of sounds, this record combines the euphoria, dream pop style of their staple albums Depression Cherry and Bloom with the shoegaze, percussion driven rhythm of their most recent release, 7.

From beginning to end of my first listen, I was completely engulfed by the waves of sounds. Beach House produces music with a trance-like feel that sweeps the listener into a journey of layered instrumentals and stunning vocals. I found my mind drifting as I listened, not out of boredom, but deep contemplation.

This EP has an extremely meditative sound. Melodic repetition and arpeggiating synths flood each track. While quite repetitive, songs like “Over and Over” and “Only You Know” manage to deepen as they progress, with each new layer demanding attention.

Like the intuitive melodic style of most Beach House projects, Once Twice Melody is extremely catchy. I found myself in the days after discovering the album humming the melody of “Through Me.” I just know it will be playing in my head for a good month.

Scally’s vocals are well known for their airy, dreamy quality as they hover over light percussion and ephemeral synths. Once Twice Melody, in contrast to past albums, features the lower registers of her voice. This pairs quite well with the more grounded instrumentals of the EP, specifically on track “Superstar.” Her vocal tone beautifully meshes with the lush, intricate layers of drums, guitars, synths, and strings.

Beach House leans into a more staccato, percussive sound in this EP, especially on tracks “Runaway” and “Masquerade.” I am a sucker for the aimless, floating quality of their previous music, but this EP was a pleasant diversion. It is nearly impossible for me not to bop my head to the 80s grooves of these tracks.

In contrast to sharp, driving songs on the EP, the standout track, “Sunset” abruptly halts the wall of sounds, stripping down to acoustic guitar, vocals, and strings. It is a stark mood shift and is a completely unique sound for this usually complex band.

I was not surprised that I enjoyed this EP, given Beach House’s reputation for producing consistently high-quality projects. It will take many more listens to fully grasp the layers of sound presented in each track, but the standouts for me are “New Romances” and “Masquerade.”

The dichotomy of Beach House’s music is captivating, successfully blending peaceful vocals with overwhelming instrumentation. Once Twice Melody deserves to be played at maximum volume while watching a striking sunset.

Written by: ktsw899

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