Release Date: Jun 30, 2017
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Dream Pop
Beach House fans were spoiled in the late 2010s: Not only did the band release Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars within a year of each other, they followed it with an even deeper dive into their music with B-Sides and Rarities. Covering more than a decade's worth of songs, the collection underscores that while Beach House's music sounds fragile, it's also surprisingly resilient. Their albums range from charmingly lo-fi to ethereal perfection without diminishing any of their poignant beauty, and B-Sides and Rarities is nearly as consistent.
Critical interpretations of Baltimore dream pop outfit Beach House tend to classify their music into two categories. There is the grand, pristine, sweeping pop of Teen Dream, Bloom, and Depression Cherry, compared with the brittle, dusty, rickety dirges of Beach House, Devotion, and most recently, Thank Your Lucky Stars. It’s an appealing dichotomy, so appealing in fact that it is bound to oversimplify their music and overlook certain nuances within these polar extremes.
When Beach House's Thank Your Lucky Stars - the band's second record of 2015 - dropped, many fans thought it was a b-side compilation. Together with the track 'She's So Lovely' and the pearls spelling out the title, it was a throwback to their debut. Other songs like 'All Your Yeahs' sounded distinctly like 2015 Beach House, focusing more on long buildups instead of the rhythmic payoffs like 2010's Teen Dream.
With grace and skill, Beach House tend to hide the evidence of the labor put into making their albums. Traces of writing, recording, mixing, and sequencing fade in service of a holistic, cinematic experience. You don't see the edges because Beach House wants you to feel like you're inside of them. But on their first collection of non-album tracks, B-Sides and Rarities, the Baltimore duo expose the tight weave of their work.
A decade of Beach House. Has it really been so long? The indie duo emerged fully formed in the fall of 2006, sounding woozy and romantic and somehow suspended in time. And the group still sounds that way. The band has, over the span of six strong albums in nine years, become a reliable purveyor of sighing dream-pop that's perfect for moody teens and lonely late-night ruminations.
Beware the B-sides and rarities album. Hardly an attempt to woo new fans, and commonly a ploy to keep devotees entertained between albums, B-sides and rarities albums may include some intriguing material but usually contain half-baked tracks that weren't good enough to make it off the cutting room floor in the first place. Beach House beg to differ.
At Coachella 2013, standing with my wife, as the sun set over the Indio Hills and the illuminated, iconic ferris wheel, Beach House saturated the already warm air with droning keys and a triumphant set of crowd-pleasers. Sunset set time is coveted at Coachella, and this was a perfect choice. A woman appeared next to us aggressively told my wife how gorgeous she was, and talked very loudly about Lollapalooza (we are from Chicago) and then put her arms around us and repeatedly screamed – “BEAAAAAAACH HOUSE, BEEEEEEEACH HOOOOOOOUSE, ALL THE BEAAAAACHES IN THE HOUSE” for a good sixty seconds before continuing on for a night I doubt she remembers.