Beach House: Bloom

    After two years of waiting, Beach House’s Bloom has arrived to announce the verdict. Where 2009’s Teen Dream was a noticeable redefinition of the group’s style — the production a little less hazy, the songwriting a little more focused — Bloom acts as yet another graceful refinement of the beloved dream poppers’ brand of spacious soft rock. 

    But this is not to say that the band hasn’t attempted to break new aesthetic ground.  

    First and foremost, Bloom sounds more confident — a mark that can perhaps be attributed to the band’s more comprehensive live performance palette. At times, the duo swaps their rusty old drum machine for organic drum fills (as on the soaring “Wishes” and “Wild”) and reaches for more ambitious, chorus-laden guitar on the record’s epic shoegazey closer “Irene.” They even throw in some sly and synthy alt basslines on “The Hours.”  

    The band has adamantly advised listeners against overindulging in their “vibes” at the expense of their attempt to develop as songwriters, yet this is admittedly difficult considering the immediacy of their wistfully catchy guitar-keyboard dynamic. Although their writing may be turning towards a more apparent sense of directness, it still takes a backseat to Bloom’s ideal role as a compliment to your summer’s breezy sunny afternoon mix-tape collection. (8/10) 

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