Sophie Henry

As all beautiful things do, this one too begins just like a fairytale. Harmony unites with disharmony, electronic marries synth-pop, yet it always feels peaceful. Then drum beats slowly appear on the scene as the tunes circle back and forth in between, a guitar begins to gently weep, and they, all together, elevate us to a dreamy state. As “days go by” throughout the album from the sensual “summer sun” to a universe of darkness, we are surrounded by “Superstar”s, “Pink Funeral”s, “Run-Away” lovers and “New Romance”s over and over again, until we reach the sunset in “Another Go-Around”, confront the idealized “Illusion of Forever” and accept that it indeed hurts to love, as we eventually fade away to “Many Nights” and remember what “Modern Love Stories” always show us. Sweet dreams flow through spider webs, flashing lights, a kaleidoscope of layers of unconsciousness and through the heat of love towards us in this rather bearable lightness of being that we meditate upon. The abstract and ambiguous allure of the lyrics derive from an idyllic and imagined past that actually never was, but rather is a neverland of a wandering mind, and celebrate the serendipitous zone of our evergreen daydreams. In other words, Beach House is once again ready to kick us off to yet another space odyssey in a carousel with their latest album “Once Twice Melody,” whose fourth and final chapter dropped this past Friday at midnight. 

Mostly known for their ballads titled “Space Song,” “Silver Soul” and “Myth,” Beach House is a Baltimore, Maryland-based dream-pop musical duo formed in 2004. The band members are Victoria Legrand as the vocalist and keyboardist, along with Alex Scally who serves as the guitarist, keyboardist and backup vocalist. Their first album was a self-titled debut, which was followed by “Devotion” (2008), “Teen Dream” (2010), “Bloom” (2012), “Depression Cherry” (2015), “Thank Your Lucky Stars” (2015) and “7” (2018). “Once Twice Melody” marks the duo’s eighth album. A double-album with 18 tracks, melodies were released in four “chapters” on Dec. 8, 2021, Jan. 19, 2022 and Feb. 18, 2022. 

As we dissolve into “Once Twice Melody,” the stardust of songs explode like fireworks against the night sky with layers and layers of sync-pop, an ounce of shoegaze and modern psychedelic rock elements. While the wistful lyrics of the individual songs deal with concepts like love, desire, nostalgia, time and memory, Beach House feels like “messing up” on some nights and “dressing up” on others — so perhaps you shouldn’t really take the end of the journey so seriously; instead “take your chances” and enjoy the ascending, spellbinding ride itself. After all, “the end is the beginning/ beginning to an ending.” For sure, there are melancholic interludes “as blue skies turn black” when the Baltimore duo recollects past times “When you were mine/ We fell across the sky,” and are reflected in the striking Lana del Ray-feel in “Sunset” and constant resemblance of Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine and Tame Impala in lullabies. I would say the lyrics are deliberately shrouded in mystery to prevent them from molding the subjective core of human identity into a particular shape, restructuring our pasts, disarranging our personal histories or intermingling with our present and future. It is an accurate representation: the memory is selective as one reminiscences fragments of time — and so is “Once Twice Melody.” Beach House doesn’t forget to include psychedelic, playful and trippy imagery along with their cinematic sounds either. At the end, the cumulative effect of the echoes of sounds and illusive images bring us to an immortal and spacey sublime. 

I could go on rambling about how the album feels like a warm ocean of a sonic cosmos or a surrealist starry lake with its surprising stillness, yet I would say this feeling itself is not truly communicable or nameable — you should experience it yourself, and you may not “wanna know how the story ends from now to then.” My advice would be to perhaps fasten your seatbelts beforehand, but take the trip for sure: there is a maturity behind melting into your molecules with “Once Twice Melody.” 

Gamze covers music news for the Arts desk and writes for the WKND. She is a sophomore in Pauli Murray majoring in psychology and humanities.