I love artists who push the boundaries of music, who convince us to look beyond the boundaries that we create for ourselves and to create something new. However, there is also something to be said for consistency and the foundation it provides. Dream-pop duo Beach House is the best at this. For nearly a decade, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have released creatively solid albums, proving that sources of inspiration don’t have to be unsustainable. Their seventh album, aptly titled 7, was released on May 11, 2018 to critical acclaim.
The fourth single off the album, “Black Car,” reveals and inverts a few of the little tricks that have made Beach House great. In place of their signature drone (at least for the first minute) is an unsteady, cool marimba beat that slinks with anxiety. Even when the synth comes in, and its pitch increases steadily, bursting forth from the shadows, the marimba melody haunts the song like a specter, hidden in plain sight. Much of 7 attempts to bring shadows to light, and “Black Car” is no exception. When Legrand croons “We want to go inside the cold / It’s like a tomb, but it’s something to hold,” we, too, want to the cling to the darkness that provides a framework. “Black Car” hones in on the thrilling fear of leaping into darker aspects of the soul, where feeling is murky, intense and deep.