Groups hand out so many stamps of approval that they’ve almost become worthless. Do you really give a shit that yet another person has stepped up to back Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? I mean, most of these approvals seem a bit forced and solely based on the power of the club or group to tell people what they think, as if a majority of people actually cares.
This column isn’t necessarily immune to it. In fact, the KCPR stamp approval on an album may mean little to you. I’m sure that saying the new Atlas Sound ranks as one of KCPR’s best experimental pop albums of the first quarter of this year will hardly mean dick if you haven’t already heard about it. But in the case of this Beach House review, our approval actually means something. Why? Because Beach House’s first self-titled is the album that is MOST hooked-up by KCPR DJs, and its follow-up album “Devotion” is poised to take the prize. Yeah, that’s right, because all the crate digging REALLY is about getting laid, and in that case, you can pass all of our other self-indulgent garbage and get to the meat.
So what’s the meat for your Saturday night sandwich? Alex Scally and Victoria LeGrand’s dreamy Mazzy Star with an organ and a more beautiful singer masterpiece. Their first album served as a lo-fi gem, but with this new beauty, they’ve embraced the studio in a quest for lush, nuanced sounds. As an added bonus, the new studio tricks have allowed LeGrand’s vocals to truly take their slot as the heart-melting female equivalent of Beirut’s Zach Condon.
The album is all about desire of the chosen company. The opener, “Wedding Bell,” moves along with intimate imagery clinched by LeGrand’s declaration: “Oh, but your wish is my command.” “Gila” rolls out with a slow drumbeat, and fills in as the thematic and sonic equivalent of the first album’s hot single, “Master of None.” If you’re looking for the masterpiece, though, it’s “Heart of Chambers.” This fact didn’t occur to me until I saw LeGrand’s head hanging over me and singing the lyrics in the recently made music video. A lusty female singing “I just want to be someone you could finally learn to love again” has a way of sending my heart into double-flips.
By the way, if you’re looking to gain hipster cred, then you’ll be happy to know that Beach House is coming to play in San Luis Obispo with Bay Area-natives the Papercuts March 14 at the Steynberg Gallery. On the hipster barometer, seeing Kimya Dawson at a house show pre-“Juno” is about five points. Slapping hands with Stephen Malkmus when “Slanted and Enchanted” came out is about 100. But for those who like to gain all their cred in one sitting, hooking up at a Beach House show is like a million points. It is an act perhaps only on par with that solo show Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum played at your house last week, or being the first to hear My Bloody Valentine’s new album.
This said, this review is the one time you should accept the KCPR stamp of approval. We’re looking out for you and giving you the only thing we’re good at: futuresexlovesounds.
Graham Culbertson is a journalism senior and a stacks director for KCPR, San Luis Obispo, 91.3 FM. He’s also completely full of it.