Artist: Beach House
Format: Digital (Spotify)
Considering a discussion I once had about the appropriate viewing order for the “Star Wars” saga, Beach House reminds me there are different ways to be introduced to a particular artist.
Had I heard “Devotion” prior to the Baltimore dream pop duo’s stunning 2010 breakthrough album, “Teen Dream,” I would’ve approached it with considerable skepticism.
“Devotion” isn’t bad. The songwriting is lush, but it’s also a drowsy sedative.
After three spins, I remember the mood of the record — icy, mournful, languid — more than any song in particular. That isn’t necessarily a statement that a record doesn’t quite hit its mark. Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” is The Man’s finest record, but it yielded pretty much nothing in the way of hit singles.
“Devotion” is a mood piece, with drum machines backing up peaceful keyboard arrangements. Even classically trained vocalist Victoria Legrand feels as restrained as the music itself, not showcasing her skills, but instead playing it as cool as the record.
What “Devotion” does feel like is an opportunity to sharpen skills Beach House put into place on “Teen Dream,” but I’m glad I listened to them in the opposite order first.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.