Depression Cherry by Beach House

Shane Jones
August 27, 2015







Sub Pop



On their latest project, Depression Cherry, ethereal dream-pop duo Beach House seem to have focused a great deal of energy on hypnotizing listeners into a trancelike state that renders them unable to understand that each of the band’s songs is more or less exactly the same. I will be the first to admit that Beach House are fantastic hypnotists: it’s so easy to lose yourself in their immensely constructed, wispy soundscapes, each of them richly detailed with haunting vocal harmonies and shimmering synths, that it’s easy to forget -- or even intentionally ignore -- the familiarity that permeates the whole of their fifth studio album. How much one gets from Depression Cherry is entirely dependent on their willingness to give themselves up to a project that has been producing variations of the exact same song for quite some time now.

It’s important to note that of course there is no shame or dishonor in treading familiar ground. In fact, in what nearly always amount to heart-wrenching situations; sometimes our favorite bands attempt some radical new sound that alienates a huge chunk of their fan base. This makes us, as fans and human beings, pretty bummed. However, on the polar opposite end of the spectrum is Depression Cherry, which sounds so much like Beach House’s past releases that, after my first listen to its opener, “Levitation,” I had to check and make sure I hadn’t accidently put in their 2012 album, Bloom. Though the growing emphasis on simple, scuzzed out guitar riffs on tracks like “Sparks” and “Space Song” serves to differentiate this record’s offerings from Beach House’s previous albums, it still feels so eerily familiar that even die-hard fans might be a little put off. If it happens to be your first contact with Beach House, Depression Cherry could very well end up feeling like a wholly fulfilling and satisfactory experience. There is an undeniable pull to those sleepy drum machines, the whispered vocals and that inherently dreamlike quality of Beach House; it’s just a shame that they couldn’t have come up with anything to evolve their already tired sound.


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