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4.5 out of 5 stars
Teen Dream [CD + DVD]
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I like dreamy pop. I'm 56 years old and I liked the Beach boys as a kid in 1962.This was before the Beatles. I liked them and the Four Seasons. "Don't Worry Baby" was my idea of pop perfection. So I am a fan of unapologetic pop music.
The Beach House's Teen Dreams makes me feel good. Sort of reminds me of Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, High Llamas.
The DVD is not up to par with the music. It's actually detracting. And I don't like the recurring motif taken from the hackneyed Temptations' riff from the beginning of "My Girl"
All the same, Teen Dreams is still close to perfection.
I am thrilled that I found the review on Pitchfork and that I decided to take a chance on the CD. It's beautiful music and I will be sharing it with friends and family.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Beach House have been working quietly and steadily since their 2006 debut, amassing fans, styles, and sounds along the way. Teen Dream is the most fully realized album by Beach House to date, filled to the brim with their signature lush melodies and dreamy ambiance. This album pushes into decidedly shoegazey territory, bringing to mind the masterful works of the Cocteau Twins. But Beach House are no style thieves, and Teen Dream sounds like a unique work, heavily inspired by history's great dream pop acts without being a copycat. The songs are lilting and beautiful, and easily the most compelling compositions to date for the band. Songs like "Zebra" and "Silver Soul" are powerhouses, pushing the band into new and daring territory without sacrificing a thing that has made them so successful within their sphere. This is a must-have album for dream pop fans. Expect plenty of critical praise.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
For many it was only a matter of time until Beach House delivered big time and sought world domination. For this punter alternatively (with the exception of a couple of songs such as "Apple Orchard" on their debut and "Holy Dances" and "Gila" on their second LP "Devotion") a sense of deep indifference has been the predominant feeling about this band. Indeed if truth be told they seemed like a bunch of Mazzy Star sound-alike's with "Fade into you" the overused template. What a mad fool I have been, "Teen Dream" is an outright stunner and propels them into the major leagues.

The anticipation around this album across American music blogs has been huge largely as a consequence of widespread leaks of the album. The result is that it is already being hyped up as this year's Animal Collective equivalent e.g. an album released in the first month of the New Year which will dominate 2010's musical landscape. In the first place a comparison between "Teen Dream" and "Merriweather" makes little sense since they are chalk and cheese in terms of musical styles. But more than this they are unhelpful since they burden "Teen Dream" with a comparison which it does not need and a weight of expectation that this fragile beauty should not be required to carry. After all it is the quality of the music that counts.

Beach House is a duo from Baltimore comprising Victoria Legrand (yes she is related to the French composer Michel) and Alex Scally. "Teen dream" is on the Bella Union label and Sub pop in the US and recorded in a church in upstate New York and you can tell. This is an album of real grace and power. The songs are characterised by an ethereal dreamy pop sensibility and Legrand's voice has echoes of Nico, Marianne Faithful, Patti Smith and of course Hope Sandoval. It gives a slightly hard, sultry and sometimes raspy edge to Beach House's sweet melodies and Scally's wonderful backing instrumentation.

The album starts brilliantly with the sublime "Zebra" which sets the tone for the rest of the album with its slow guitar lines that build and burn into a classic pop anthem. It is gorgeous stuff as is "Silver Soul" which follows it. And then there is "Norway" the single which has been readily available for months. In this reviewers humble opinion it is one of the greatest pop songs of this century thus far. Legrand's vocal is as smokey as a fine Cuban cigar and contrasts with the breathless backing vocals. This mix is combined with a weird and slightly distorted electronic backing but which works in spades. It is bloody perfect and if you don't get the album at least download this. The slow processional pop of "Walk in the Park" which follows "Norway" is remarkably its equal and provides no let up. These first four songs are by far the strongest opening quartet to an album which I have heard in many years.

"Used to be" has shades of the wonderful innocence found on Mercury Rev's "Deserters Songs" album and for some reason "Lover of Mine" reminds me of "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence" with a slight Japanese feel. "10 mile stereo" is easily the best vocal performance by Legrand on the whole album. The only qualms I have come in the shape of "Real Love" and "Take care" which are the tracks at the moment that I can't get too worked up about. "Take Care" has one of those constant repeat vocals that go on beyond the point of irritation.

Small caveats for what is a towering performance. "Teen Dream" is a lush and magisterial album that you would be fool not to let it into your life. They support Grizzly Bear in the forthcoming spring UK tour and that will be some concert. 2010 is starting well "Teen Dream" shifts it up a gear.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
As a lover of all kinds of music, I sample a lot of stuff. Over the years (I'm 37) I've listened to a lot of artists that might get awkwardly categorized with Beach House. Velvet Underground, Belle and Sebastian, Sigur Ros, perhaps some shoegaze bands, or maybe even some female mid-seventies singer-songwriters are used in efforts to discribe this music. But nothing I can think of at the moment comes to mind when trying to express the beauty of album. Dreamy without being sleepy, emotional without being dramatic, impressive without being virtuoso, and somehow pop without being cheeze. I haven't purchased anything in a long time that I wish to hear over and over as I find myself doing with Teen Dream. The DVD of videos (of each song on the album) that comes with the CD is very good as well. Beck did this same sort of thing a couple of years ago but the videos here are much more interesting as each one is made/directed by a different person and very well done. This is one to buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I made every attempt to ignore the zebra print cover art for Beach House's third record, Teen Dream, as I rescued it from it's wrapper. Once inside the zebra carcass I found - surprise, surprise - two discs and two books. Bonus! I put the disc with the Easter blue zebra print on it in the player. Didn't appear to play. Put the disc with the Easter pink zebra print on it. Also didn't play. I looked at the pink zebra book then the blue zebra book. Stumped. And already tired of zebra. Then, finally, I put the blue disc back in ... it worked. It had a bit of silence at the beginning before things got started, but, once the music fell from the carcass, it sounded big and grad. Immediately better than the band's first two records. Turned it up.

The pink book revealed that the pink disc was in fact a full-length DVD full of videos for every song on the album, each video directed by a different filmmaker. The first director's name? Sean Pecknold. Hmm. Pecknold, as in Fleet Foxes Pecknold? Yep, the brother of the head Fox. Seemed odd to me, considering my first thought as Teen Dream's opening song played was "it sounds like these guys have been listening to the Fleet Foxes since their last album." Weird. The closing video was directed by Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew, too. But no, Teen Dream doesn't really sound too much like BSS. More on the videos later.

The first thing you need to know about the music side of Teen Dream is that it is a very big sounding record. Band members Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally took the R.E.M. approach while following up the success of their 2007 breakthrough, Devotion, here recording in a converted church. On board for the recordings was producer Chris Coady, a studio whiz known for helping bands (most notably TV on the Radio) sound bigger than life. The result is a record that sounds like a mix of Devotion, the Fleet Foxes, the most recent M83 record and Mazzy Star. The sound is dusty and dreamlike. Vintage in a really hip soap opera sort of way, if you can imagine such a thing.

Both books are full of creative imagery, giving Teen Dream the feel of a full-blown art project. Music. Film. Art. Some of the images in the blue book would've made for great album covers. (Anything but zebra print.) The songwriting here is good. Almost as good as the ornamentation, production or soulful - almost creepy - vocals. Nothing profound or hugely creative about the writing, but surely the kind of material that will dig its hooks into a fair share of arty college-age girls (and sensitive boys with silly glasses). Also recommended to the future soap-watchers of the world.

Needless to say when speaking of Beach House, this is a very dramatic sounding music, but in a cool way. Not quite Antony Hegarty Johnson dramatic, but in that ballpark. And the videos are a nice bonus, even if much of the work probably belongs on YouTube with all the other filmschool videos out there, rather than on a nationally distributed DVD. But that's not the point. The point is that this is very theatrical, visual music, so who cares if the videos are all big on production and short on concept and execution. There are much less desirable things to do than watch 10 young video artists overusing Final Cut Pro while listening to some very stellar tunes. Sean Honey's video for "Lover of Mine," in particular, is a success. Beach House singer Victoria Legrand's video for "Silver Soul" is another winner, even if her work clearly struggles to find a balance between subject and style. Oh, and let's not forget director Allen Cordell's half great work on the video for "Walk in the Park." Some beautiful cinematography on that one.

So, for a very modest price, you get a great new set of dream-pop music, a disc full of video art, two books and some zebra prints. Not bad. The main event here, obviously, is the music. And while the full presentation does enhance the experience, in the end, we just have the tunes. And they're great. Teen Dream is the new cult classic of the uber dramatic, endlessly cinematic and wholly effeminate Sour Times genre. If you like Low, the Cocteau Twins, Portishead, Mazzy Star or even the Fleet Foxes and shoegazer stuff like Ride, chances are Teen Dream is going to be a very big record for you.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I should begin by saying that I have a limited frame of reference with regards to Beach House. I listed to Devotion a few times and remember liking it, but it never stuck with me. I would have never thought to check out Teen Dream but for the incredible hype surrounding it. I bought the album and was highly disappointed not because it's a horrible album (it isn't), but because all the glowing and drooling over this album doesn't seem proportional to what I'm hearing.

Teen Dream strikes me as very flat, repetitive, monotonous, and one-dimensional. The songs seem to be crafted well enough and the production is top-notch (those are the two stars I give the album), but no matter how or how often I listen to it, I find myself getting intensely bored and have an irrepressible urge to move on to something more interesting. I feel that all the songs, while distinct enough, float along on the same plane, rarely deviating from the same clever/sweet/dreamy sound scape. I was initially tempted to conclude that my dislike of this album is just a matter of taste, as I do like plenty of dream-pop/shoegaze type music. Instead, I have to conclude that Teen Dream is, like the cover itself, just...bland and flat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I have been listening to dream-pop, shoe-gaze, ethereal, indie-rock reacted music for over 20 years now. I have to say that this is just about as good or better than anything in any of those genres and more. There are so many other "new" bands putting out music that takes me back to my shoe-gaze days but, this album has the best of all those elements. It may not be as "experimental" as My Bloody Valentine but, the songs and their variations are much stronger in my opinion. MBV never made me tear up like Beach House does. The vocals in BH are just about as perfect as any I have heard in any genre and I listen to very diverse music. The actual words are a little hard to pick out but, I rarely find lyrics good enough or important enough for me to care. I hope these guys can pull this off live when I see them in April. I fear that if they don't use real drums, it might take away from the impact. However, the spot-on vocal delivery should make-up for it. The easiest way to sum up the BH sound: Cocteau Twins mixed with Mazzy Star and maybe some of the more recent elements of "hip" music out there. The vocals remind a little of The Duke Spirit and Siouxie and the Banshees. Might appeal to fans of Broadcast also. I already feel this will be THE album of 2010 in my opinion. I can't see how any song on this cd could be improved. Listen with headphones and try to get it on cd or vinyl so you can hear it with better sound quality and not the weaker MP3 format. 4.8 out of 5!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I've been intimidated to even begin to analyze Teen Dream, let alone disect and injest it in a way I can put into words. In a sense, Teen Dream is a perfect album. This is not a delusional statement. This is a statment based upon months exposure, not knee-jerk reactions, honeymoon period statements, drunken elitism, and the like. The album is a modern masterpiece, not unlike Radiohead's Kid A or Joanna Newsom's Ys. And much like the aforementioned albums, it is a pleasent aural trip for headphone fanatics. It is, in the words of OutKast, an "eargasm".

The album's title is perfectly selected; its themes range from love, loss, betrayal and joy, all wrapped up in a dream-like landscape of the jangle-pop kind: a bittersweet adolescence, so to speak. Beach House has truly found themselves by fattening up their sound, while hanging onto those simple, lovable lead guitar and processed beats.

The band manages to hold onto the intimacy of their self-titled while building up a towering mountain of sound that'd make Mr. Spector dribble in his pants. Whether it's running rampant with striped animal or singing about Scandinavian countries, Victoria Legrand is haunting, albeit absolutely stunning in her vocal performances; her words flow like sweet honey and stick to you just the same.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I haven't ever written a review on Amazon but feel compelled to do so for Teen Dream, which I bought on a whim last week and have been playing constantly ever since.

I read something about Beach House on Pitchfork almost a year ago when this album came out, downloaded "Zebra" for free off their website, and went on with my life...at that time really digging Television, Dylan, etc. I wasn't blown away by Zebra and wasn't even sure if the vocalist was a guy or a girl...

All this seems silly now considering my unapologetic awe at the cohesiveness, beauty, and emotion of this album. Also considering I have a serious crush on Victoria Legrand, the vocalist. In an age where CDs are old fashioned and even the album, regardless of listening format, seems dated, I found an incredible satisfaction with popping this CD into my stereo and listening to it all the way through. Multiple times. And although it's called Teen Dream, don't let the title fool you - this is not Katy Perry-style hooks. It's sonically beautiful, complex, and impressively mature.

The highlight for me is "10 mile stereo," which has an amazing drum progression and is a major vocal accomplishment. "Walk in the park" is also a great track, considering the subject matter of wanting to forget someone that was once important to you. I always read about great albums to listen to in a particular moment - whether you're getting it on, driving alone, breaking up, etc. I think one of the strong points of this album is that the cryptic lyrics and "dreamy" atmosphere appeal to different people in different ways. It's perfect for a great many occasions. It's accessible but authentic. It's emotional but efficient.

As far as criticisms, I will say it is true that the lyrics seem a bit hollow on paper - they require Ms. Legrand's voice to take on their meaning. Also, the DVD doesn't add much. Listen to the CD and put your own visuals to the songs - it's not very hard to do. In conclusion, I give this album my highest praises and hope you will give it a listen - it's the type of quality music that will actually make your life more interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The first time I listened to Teen Dream, I found it to be pleasant enough but nothing all that special. After hearing "Norway" on the radio a few days ago, I decided to listen to the full album again. And wow, am I glad I did. Teen Dream has many beautiful moments. The first few tracks are especially great, "Silver Soul" in particular grabs my attention each and every time I listen to it. Don't get me wrong though, there is absolutely no filler on this disc. Teen Dream is one of those rewarding albums that offer more with each listen. It's relaxing and meditative, but profound and deep at the same time.

This is the first time I've heard any of Beach House's material, but I'll certainly be paying very close attention to them and checking out their previous albums now that I've been introduced to this cohesive and gorgeous gem.

EDIT: After several more listens, it's evident that Teen Dream is the real deal. "10 Mile Stereo" and "Take Care" are absolutely stunning and have been stuck on repeat for a week or so. Buy this album now.
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