Beach House - B-Sides and Rarities - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Beach House - B-Sides and Rarities

by Justin Pearson Rating:7 Release Date:2017-06-30

The obvious thing about any B-sides/rarities collection is that in most cases they're never intended to be proper, cohesive pieces in and of themselves. But if you're a band with a body of work as solid as Beach House, any throwaway song is still pretty good, even if it might not measure up to the ones that made up the final album.

On B-Sides and Rarities, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have pulled together every single non-album track they've ever recorded and made them accessible on one record. Not only is this good news for hardcore fans of the band, but even the uninitiated can find a solid introduction to their signature brand of dream pop here.

Most of the songs have been around for awhile in one form or another, and a few album staples are presented here in remixed form. In addition, there are two brand new tracks from the Depression Cherry/Thank Your Lucky Stars sessions: 'Chariot' and 'Baseball Diamond.' Both songs respectively call to mind the tone of each album. 'Chariot' has the downtempo, romance-like pacing and woozy guitar that colored much of Depression Cherry, while 'Baseball Diamond' is covered in the gauzy layer of dust from the attic that stored the treasure of Thank Your Lucky Stars.

Teen Dream tracks 'Used to Be' and '10 Mile Stereo' show up in different forms, the former a 7" single version and the latter a slowed down "Cough Syrup Remix." The stripped back instrumentation on 'Used to Be' gives Legrand's vocals a more intimate space to shine in, but the driving, hypnotic build-up of '10 Mile Stereo' is replaced by a druggy sludge that doesn't quite do the original justice.

One of a handful of standout tracks, 'Equal Mind' is from the Bloom sessions, which was previously included as a B-Side on the Lazuli single release for Record Store Day. It's a testament to the band's consistency that they would even have to decide to eventually cut a song so good from an album, simply because it had a very similar tempo to one already on Bloom ('Other People'). Both songs reach the pinnacle of Legrand and Scally's songwriting, but you can understand why it was eventually left off of Bloom. 'Other People' is definitely stronger, but not by a very wide margin.

Beach House haven't yet managed to make even an average album, let alone a bad one. B-Sides and Rarities isn't a game changer, that's clear, but for a record of leftovers and tossed-asides, it can be played from start to finish without the sense that you're listening to anything less than half. It's full bodied, with enough to sink your teeth into until the next masterpiece this duo will surely release.

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