Just two months after their August release of Depression Cherry, the indie-dream-pop duo Beach House announced Oct. 7 the release of Thank Your Lucky Stars, which came out only a week after the announcement, the band saying they didn’t want to release it with a traditional campaign. Beach House wanted Thank Your Lucky Stars to “simply enter the world and exist.” As the a fairly sadder conclusion to the simplicity Depression Cherry was searching for, the newest release does seem to, well, simply exist.
Depression Cherry was a mellowed out Beach House reverting to its synth and slide-guitar roots. Teen Dream and Bloom have driven them into the spotlight in front of larger audiences in bigger venues, which the band said was taking an emotional toll. If they weren’t already emotional-verging-on-spiritual, Depression Cherry took them beyond the verge. Their statements about the album were extensive and heartfelt, from quotes that the band felt “relate to the feeling and themes of this record,” to a track listing with selected lyrics. The music was more mellow than most of Teen Dream or Bloom, described by the band as “a color, a place, a feeling, an energy … that describes the place you arrive as you move through the endlessly varied trips of existence.”
Thank Your Lucky Stars seems inextricably linked to the spirituality of its predecessor. The tracks on Depression Cherry leave listeners unsure of whether they’re serene or melancholy, serenely melancholy or melancholically serene, and Thank Your Lucky Stars exacerbates this tension between happiness in sadness or sadness in happiness. It actually sways listeners closer to simple sadness in sadness with titles like “Elegy to the Void.” Written directly after but recorded at the same time as Depression Cherry, it’s just not quite as good.
With more of a gristly electric guitar — “gristly” being a relative term since this is Beach House we’re talking about — its songs don’t have quite the same perfectly, unassumingly, smoothly and ethereally rhythmic quality that tracks like “Sparks” have on Depression Cherry. Instead they reveal a harder, choppier, more definitively melancholy — but not quite definitively melancholy — side to the hopeful emptiness hinted upon in its August predecessor.
Just like the larger crowds and larger venues yielded by earlier albums, Thank Your Lucky Stars may remind the group adn their listeners that too much of a good thing can leave you feeling a bit empty — perhaps beautifully, ethereally, dreamily and softly scintillatingly — but empty nonetheless. Beach House may want to wait a while before giving any more of their pleasing but emotionally dense material to listeners: let the white-capped wave of their latest two releases crash and ebb, then a refreshing new rhythm may begin again.