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Returning after three years, dream-pop duo Beach House have released their new album Depression Cherry. Like most albums released this year, it’s an extremely layered album with the theme of love and loss being present throughout. On first listen, my interpretation of it was that it focused on the themes and emotions of a short-lived romance, and one party getting over their infatuation with the other. But after listening to it a couple more times and analysing the lyrics, I’ve instead found that Depression Cherry tells the story of a couple falling madly in love, getting married, dealing with the realities of marriage, and ultimately finding these challenges difficult—the whole shebang.
The album opens with the sparkly track “Levitation” that effortlessly merges a jangly, bubbly keyboard and simple drum melody with Victoria Legrand’s harmonies, to climax at the end of the song making for a white-wash of sound to cleanse the audience’s perception of what they may be in for. The following track, “Sparks” (which was the initial release from the album), totally hits the listener over the head with Alex Scally’s guitar. Powering through the synth loop that begins the track, it continues to pummel the audience for the first part of the song until the things calm down with Legrand’s soothing voice, until picking back up for the bridge and continuing in this manner till the end.
The second half of the album is interesting because the songs transition the mood to an almost enlightened state, and a strong use of metaphor begins building on the narrative of dealing with love and its pitfalls. “PPP” ends with a cosmic orgasm of energy as it opens up beautifully from a lulled beginning. “Wildflower” comes next and sees Legrand and Scully delving deeper into the story they created, as the initial awe of their love wore off and left them reassuring themselves of the feelings they still have for one another. “Bluebird” is another realisation song, dealing with the couple coming to peace with themselves and their relationship. The song itself is steeped in shoegazey electronica and sounds like it could have dropped off a Rhye album, carrying the same depressing realisation of the subject’s worlds. The closing track “Days of Candy” finally gives the listener some closure. Legrand’s voice drones on throughout the song, with bubbly synths wafting in and out as she finally sums up her thoughts on love—revealing the metaphor that the album’s title is based on.
Depression Cherry is ultimately an album about love. It flows through all the melancholy areas of the emotion and gives a real look at the fading spark all couples experience as their relationship wears on. The metaphor that the album’s title is based on pays homage to this idea—like a cherry, the initial feeling of loving someone is sweet and joyous, but even the greatest emotion of all, love, fades to reveal mediocrity and melancholy. This may be quite a pessimistic view on a topic so heavily touched on in music, but I think that’s what Beach House were trying to do. They weren’t trying to make some sappy, sad love album, but make something that had some teeth and gave an accurate depiction of what they see love as.