Like the album that preceded it, Bloom builds on Beach House's lyrical themes and musical style, evolving in a way that never compromises the band's sound. New, lush atmospheres are introduced and the recording quality is getting better with every release, but you could easily throw any song from Bloom into the same mix as any song from Devotion and they would sound great in succession. As in past reviews, I chose to review this album track-by-track. Some people are annoyed by this style of review and I respect that, so if you choose to stop reading, just know that this is likely the best album you will hear in 2012. Now, for those who are game to journey on...
Myth - With its simple programmed brush-brush-brush-cowbell intro, the band begins the album with a somewhat minimalist approach. From here, the instruments and vocals layer on and continue to build to an epic climax. From the first song, it is well understood that Beach House is back, and in top form. (10/10)
Wild - Of all the songs on this album, this one is likely the most nostalgic. The lyrics seem to tap into the same hazy territory that most of Teen Dream existed within. This time, the focus seems to be a conflicted father and the mistakes he possibly made. For this reason, Wild plays like a repressed memory. (9/10)
Lazuli - Released on Record Store Day on a limited 7" (which I missed by a long shot, thanks to my job), Lazuli is one of the singles. An arpeggiating synthesizer part carries the rhythm throughout this track, and like in "Myth," it lays the foundation. Bloom does not have any skip tracks to speak of, but this song needs time to grow on me. (6/10)
Other People - With each listen, this song gets better. The chorus might be the most infectious on the album. "Other people want to keep in touch." I find this line floating through my head at the most random times. (10/10)
The Hours - This is my absolute favorite song on the album. When Bloom leaked a few weeks ago, this was the only track that was an incomplete file, which only heightened my anticipation for the physical album release. Words cannot do it justice. (Also, if you downloaded the leak, make sure to support the band and buy the album!) (10/10)
Troublemaker - A slow burner, "Troublemaker" is this album's "Norway." Like in many Beach House songs, the chorus is where the song explodes with a passionate, melancholic burst of dreamy Beach Boys style guitar work. *For an interesting influence on this sound, check out "All I Wanna Do" by The Beach Boys on Youtube. You will be floored. (8/10)
New Year - Droning guitars are introduced along with a looping drum machine, which, when mixed together, lends itself to the sounds of My Bloody Valentine. With a faintly oriental melody in the chorus, this song is one of the faster songs on a reletively slow album. (6/10)
Wishes - It's hard to say what I find more emotional about this wistful song, Legrand's airy vocals or Scally's extremely precise lead guitar. Either way, it's straight out of a dream. (10/10)
On the Sea - Much like on Teen Dream's "Real Love," this song is Bloom's piano ballad. Like the title suggests, this song conjures up images of a taking to the sea, with its upbeat rollicking piano. This might be the closest Beach House has ever come to stepping out of their signature cloud of dreamy haze. (9/10)
Irene - A perfect album closer for an album that should go on forever, "Irene" is the band at its dreamy best. (10/10)
Like the strangely insular teenage landscape John Hughes created in his movies or the glowing nostalgic universe of The Wonder Years, Beach House has managed to imagine their own fragile world for all of us to get lost in. It's a strange paradise.