Following the success of Teen Dream in 2010, Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand are back with their fourth full-length album. Bloom was born on the road in stolen moments between soundchecks and shows, and takes influence from the experiences during two years on tour. The duo then wove together the resulting melodies, chords, rhythms, words and textures in Baltimore, before recording them over a period of seven weeks at Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas.
Despite being created over a period of time and in different locations, the most arresting thing about Bloom is that it sounds like a coherent body of work that needs to be consumed as a whole rather than in chunks, as is the norm in this era of diminished attention. It is also well-monikered in that feels like a natural development from Teen Dream. All of the elements which made that album great are here, yet are further developed. Ambitious opener Myth sweeps and soars even higher than 10 Mile Stereo and is a fine example of how, while the trademark distance and isolation are still evident, this time a greater sense of warmth and optimism thaws Beach House's iciness. Legrand's androgynous melodies are prettier than ever too. While often characteristically pared back, at times they rise beautifully. New Year for instance, is as joyous as it is dreamy.
While there is no wheel-reinvention here, Bloom works perfectly as a follow-up to their last outing. It is an album that actually sounds like... well... an album and is certainly one of the finest releases so far this year.
Review by Bobby Townsend