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Beach House: Farewell To Bleakness

With its breezy guitars and sweet backing vocals, "Norway" blows away any semblance of Beach House's previously bleak approach to pop. The duo's last two albums won it a gaggle of Mazzy Star comparisons, but the lush production here heralds the sound of Beach House coming into its own.

The opening organ and drum machine both echo the feel of the band's 2008 album Devotion, but it doesn't take long for a tribal floor tom and weeping guitar to show up. The extra instrumentation might shock longtime fans, but Beach House's most prominent characteristic, Victoria Legrand's gorgeous voice, remains. Her vocals slash through layers of production as Legrand makes sedate references to lonely hearts. She calls out endlessly to Norway as if it were a long-lost lover, until the song heaves its last breath.

A lot of bands change, and a lot of bands break up, but only a few grow. If "Norway" is a sign of anything, it's that.

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Anthony Fantano