The dense, gummy mist of sound that has settled over the indie landscape lately, burying everything like low-lying fog, has made appreciating new music less about spotting new sounds than plucking them from the muck. This spate of high-concept production, all jaded shoegaze fuzz and sludgy harmonics, can make for difficult listening, with more time needed to tell the wheat from the chaff. Beach House makes it easy on Teen Dream, supplying an intense but transparent sheen of iridescent sound, marking an album whose quality is almost instantly evident. Better than anything in recent memory, the album typifies the difference between sonic interference as an instrumental tool and a blanket to hide beneath.
Beach House affects this style, layering their songs with multi-track evocations of time and place, while leaving it feeling wispy enough to blow away in an instant. Even the sparse piano backing of a song like “Real Love” is transformed by the thick, cloudy atmosphere posed behind it. Sea imagery abounds, both in the languorous pacing and the lyrics. The production style of the already great Devotion is ported to a bigger platform, drawing in ’70s pop influences and dispensing with the slightly moldy smallness that limited the band’s first two albums. Like “Norway,” a mini masterpiece of vocal and musical interplay, Teen Dream boldly complies the subtle and the overt.