Beach House has spent 13 years and six albums perfecting a hazy dream-pop sound that’s as versatile as it is enduringly, endearingly simple. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally make brooding, deliberately paced music that still sparkles and sweetens in surprising ways — a contradiction summed up by the title of one of Beach House’s best records, Depression Cherry.
Perhaps because the Baltimore duo works with such spare and distinctive ingredients, its new, career-spanning odds-and-ends collection hangs together as a cohesive set of songs, even as Beach House throws chronology to the wind and bounces around the margins and dark corners of its catalog. “Chariot” and the seething “Baseball Diamond” are both strong, previously unreleased outtakes from the busy stretch of 2015 that produced Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, while an atmospherically hissy recording of “Rain In Numbers” drifts all the way back to 2005 without breaking stride. Elsewhere, “Norway” and “White Moon” remix old iTunes Session recordings from back in 2010, “Play The Game” resurfaces a low-key Queen cover the band recorded for charity, and the Teen Dream outtake “The Arrangement” feels jauntily grabby enough to serve as a single in its own right.
Given its title, B-Sides And Rarities is upfront about being an exercise for enthusiasts, completists and other loving obsessives. But more casual fans shouldn’t shrug it off, either. Beach House has mounted a marvelous career on its ability to set a gloomy electro-pop mood without losing touch with its brighter side — and that gift stays on full display throughout this shaggily appealing assortment of orphaned gems.
Beach House’s new album, B-Sides And Rarities, is out June 30.
Photo: Shawn Brackbill