Beach House - Norway (Subpop)
Daniel Harris | Friday, 09 July 2010
What do we know about Baltimore? There's the dog-poo-eating subculture John Walters introduced us to and there's the brutal drug culture that The Wire portrayed. However, since 2004 Beach House have been quietly producing floaty pop music that couldn't be further away from the Divines and Stringer Bells of their hometown.
Now that The XX have opened the door for quiet, subtle acts, Beach House have responded by releasing their third and best album to date. Teen Dream from which 'Norway' is taken from is a perfectly titled album, each track recalling the longing frustrations of adolescence over a drifting, dream-like backing.
'Norway' is a not-too-distant cousin of 'I Only Think Of You' by The Horrors. Both tracks have a similar disjointed accordion refrain, but the effects are completely opposite. The Horrors portray a nightmarish scenario of an isolated comedown, whereas 'Norway' is the happy floating feeling between consciousness and sleep. Victoria Legrand's vocal content is set in a fairytale world referencing Snow White and Goldilocks - both of which have sleep-related themes.
In terms of standing alone as a single, 'Norway' struggles to make an impact. It seems isolated and removed from the Teen Dream album. Just listening to this song would be like only watching one random episode of The Wire; as good a piece of art as it is, it makes more sense in the wider context.