Beach House: Devotion (Arch Hill)

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Beach House: You Came To Me
Beach House: Devotion (Arch Hill)

Anyone who was dropped into New Zealand music in the 80s and 90s would have thought that (for the most part) they had arrived in some grim North England industrial town: black moods, anger, negativity and cynicism -- and the shoe-gazing bands dressed to match. There was a lot of sullen music around and I guess young musicians thought that by being cynical they were also dark and interesting.

Maybe they were . . . although I rarely fouind them so.

But in the past decade there has been quite a change and many Kiwi musicians don't look out their window and see the menacing surf of the black sand West Coast or a Colin McCahon painting, they see the blue Pacific and the colours of Polynesia.

Bands like the Tokey Tones, the Brunettes, the Ruby Suns, The Darlings, Phoenix Foundation and many more (and the off-shoots from these outfits) bring a more sunny and summery attitude -- and it is very welcome.

Into this new and now receptive world step Beach House who are Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand (niece of composr Michel) from Baltimore, and like many others in that local list mentioned they seem to admire Brian Wilson, widescreen but highly focused pop music and the Beatles as much as Velvet Underground, Elliott Smith and melancholy indie-pop.

So here are melodies which drift languidly, vocals like distant clouds in a summer sky, appealingly lo-fi sounds of organ and beat box, a touch of Eno-like ambience . . .

If any of those local names above apppeal to you then my guess is this album will be made to feel right at home in your place.

Utterly seductive -- and, given our summertime instincts, the band name seems entirely appropriate.


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