Words by: Drew Kraplijanov
Surprise albums have become a bit of a trend as of recently. My Bloody Valentine with their 2013 comeback record ‘mbv’, D’Angelo mysteriously dropping Black Messiah 14 years after his chicken grease smash ‘Voodoo’ and Radiohead all the way back in 2011, announcing their glitched out ‘The King of Limbs’ to be released in the following week out of nowhere. Now, not even two months after the Dark Pop elegy Depression Cherry… SURPRISE, Beach House release Thank Your Lucky Stars.
It’s difficult to not compare two albums so immediate to each other. Depression Cherry was vulnerable, suffocating, atmospheric. The album seemed to try and put it’s polished and meticulous predecessor, Bloom, well behind Beach House. The reception of the album was mixed; Pitchfork called it ‘another impeccably measured step forward’ while Slant Magazine deemed it ‘languid and shapeless’.
Even if Depression Cherry was either a step of faith forward or a defeated retreat, a step anywhere is better than stagnating. Unfortunately for Beach House, after breaking out of their cell of trademark tricks, have walked right back with ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’.
The opener ‘Majorette’ is the tried and true Beach House formula with tinny dreamy synth pads, soothing dulcet guitar arpeggios and indecipherable reverb soaked vocals. However, the song is energetic and dynamic; with fast paced hi-hats fluttering over the song, helping drive the chorus’ and build the stripped back verses.
The following track, the apathetic ‘She’s So Lovely’ throws us off course into an aimless dirge that is dull and wilts sadly, failing to captivate for its four minute runtime. Unfortunately, dreary, seemingly aimless songs litter Thank Your Lucky Stars track listing. Songs such as Elegy to the Void, an almost seven minute slow burner that wastes its time building up its uninspiring foundations of kitschy synthy strings and tired vocals. One Thing is forgettable and tedicous and the closer Somewhere Tonight, is disappointing and undetermined.
There are however sparks of interest peppered in between with the Cocteau Twins inspired, All Your Yeahs, the psychedelic Beach Boys waltz of Common Girl and the patient and captivating The Traveller. Unfortunately, these songs end bizarrely and abruptly, disorientating the pacing of the album.
‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ seems to lack intent and focus, wandering off and meandering aimlessly towards the safe haven of Beach House tropes, unlike its predecessor. Pleasant, inoffensive and intriguing but is crippled by its casualness and mediocrity.