The Spice Girls said it best, really: “Too much of something is bad enough”. Which isn’t really something we thought we’d say in conjunction with Beach House, but then Depression Cherry hit us so hard that we were struggling to come out of the shadow of its greatness. And then the duo wallop Thank Your Lucky Stars on us (don’t call it a surprise), and somehow strain under their own high standards.
Which is odd, because this record was written and recorded at the same time as the last, but feels so different. Tonally it’s much more upbeat – which Beach House are known to do brilliantly – but it just doesn’t suit them as much as we’d like. After that wrench of emotion on the earlier record, this one feels a bit slight.
Then again, Beach House falling short of their own class is still leagues ahead of any peer. She’s So Lovely kicks the album into gear, while closer Somewhere Tonight almost feels like the end of a wedding, a slow-dance on a floor for all ages, slightly operatic, and a fitting swansong. Through it all, Victoria Legrand rings clearer than she ever has before, never swallowed by the synth organ or the fuzzy guitars. She holds her own album standout One Thing, though sometimes Alex Scally’s input feels too minimal.
If Beach House released this album with a bit more space, there might be something sturdier to prop it up. But even the song titles alone give away the feeling: Common Girl, The Traveller, Rough Song, all signs of a nomadic presence, experiments that largely work but feel more like roughly-assembled B-sides than the cohesive whole of Depression Cherry. Thank your lucky stars you still have that to fall back on.
Thank Your Lucky Stars by Beach House can be ordered here.