On October 7th, the indie music corner of the internet began furiously twitching when Beach House confirmed a new album would be abruptly released in just a week’s time. This announcement followed a lot of speculation generated by a handful of hardcore Beach House fans who had been scouring the band’s website. If you had a chance to visit depressioncherry.com last week, you too would have stumbled upon a few gold nuggets of fresh content and some interesting behavior. The album site began redirecting visitors to a new url – dcandtyls.com and also temporarily contained exclusive behind-the-scenes tour photos and mysterious lyrics.
With a few tweets, Beach House clarified their would indeed be a new album coming, despite their latest record, Depression Cherry, having being released less than two months ago. The band was clear that the new record should not be considered a surprise, a companion album or a set of b-sides to Depression Cherry. Instead, it would serve as a way for Beach House to experiment with releasing a record the way the wanted to.
Thank Your Lucky Stars, Beach House’s 6th studio album, opens up with “Majorette,” an upbeat and adorable opener. Victoria Legrand’s vocals are airy, she sounds younger, sweeter even. It’s an endearing way to start the album. Next up is “She’s So Lovely,” a dreamy and haunting song that makes it feel almost criminal to listen to on anything other than vinyl. Beach House’s signature slow and steady pace carry the song along, while Legrand’s croons rise from deep in her throat.
A couple songs into Thank Your Lucky Stars and it doesn’t seem to be headed in any specific direction. Instead, it feels as though the band has just put a comma on their last record and continued on doing what they love. So not a companion, but rather an extension of the creativity conjured up during the recording of Depression Cherry and spilling over. Like when you’re on your way home from work, but instead of pulling into the driveway, you drive passed and keep going. Not for any particular reason, but because you’re just not ready for the day to be done. My favorite track on the album follows, “All Your Yeahs.” It begins light and teasing, then moves into what is probably the catchiest chorus on the album “what can you say? / all your yeahs / it’s your life / do you right / give them love.” I could listen to this track on repeat and let it go on for several hours before ever getting sick of it.
A spark of moody distortion kicks off “One Thing.” The lingered pace returns, guided by a stable drumbeat. Only Legrand’s hypnotizing voice can make a song about being annoyed sound so good. Thank Your Lucky Stars’ diss track comes next, not sure which “Common Girl” is being referred to, but whomever she is, the track dismisses her quickly and very matter-of-fact. The vibe gets moody again, with a soft and anti-climactic “The Traveller.” Legrand’s antiquated organ adds a few glimmering moments of interest to the otherwise straightforward song.
“Elegy to the Void” sounds like it could have carved out a space in Depression Cherry. Legrand mentions mirrors and reflections for the fourth time on the record, “don’t you disappear in the mirror again” she sings. Here, the band reveals self-reflection as the noticeable theme on the record. A sonic guitar solo creeps through toward the end of the track and then backs Legrand as she repeats “deep beneath the waves / white winged birds of may / run from hollow hills / walk into the night.”
“Rough Song” is anything but. The song is otherworldly and ethereal, and makes my brain feel like it’s vibrating. Closing out Thank Your Lucky Stars is another one of my favorite’s “Somewhere Tonight.” I imagine this is the kind of song a boy with untied shoelaces and a girl with braces would awkwardly sway along to. Sweaty palm to sweaty palm in a dusty high school gym, “pink and blue / were dancing / empty floor / shadows lancing”.
Thank Your Lucky Stars is an interesting listen. It’s got the lo-fi charm we love about Beach House. It’s an album you could listen to and appreciate without much thought or effort. You love it, but you can’t necessarily explain why. It just feels comfortable. Afterall, that is what the band has become. Like an old baseball glove or the best kind of relationships, they have broken each other in. Through more than 10 years it would be easy for Legrand and Alex Scally to take each other for granted, or let the pressure of being beloved indie darlings get the best of them. But they haven’t. Let’s thank our lucky stars a band like them exists. Let’s put their records on and “somewhere in a ballroom tonight / let us find elation.”
Melissa Vega is not one of those people that needs coffee every morning but one of those people that needs music every morning. There’s just something about trumpets sounding while the sun is rising that gets her out of bed every day. She wonders if her love for music will ever be a talent she will actually realize beyond being really excellent at singing in the shower. She can be summed up in a single lyric from Wilco’s “She’s a Jar”: “when I forget how to talk, I sing.”