[Sub Pop; 2012]

Everyone take a deep breath… and exhale. The first cut from Beach House’s highly (and I do mean highly) anticipated follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed Teen Dream has finally hit the internet and possibly blew it up. Speculation has been brewing for the past couple of weeks that the upcoming album would be entitled Bloom, to which their label Sub Pop did neither confirm nor deny. But through their official website, the Baltimore-based duo comprised of guitarist Alex Scally and vocalist/keyboardist Victoria Legrand more than likely confirmed that their fourth LP would, indeed, be the title of the album and released the single “Myth” along with it.

What immediately stands out about “Myth” is its clarity on multiple levels. First is the newfound emphasis on the percussion, which lays down a steady, mid-tempo rhythm on the toms with a soft mallet. This reinforces the confidence and poise of the track, as well as adding a dramatic effect that drives it for the full four minutes. Scally’s reverb-drenched guitar playfully intertwines with the twinkling keys to create the hypnotic/ethereal sound that has been a staple in their music. Towards the end, he hits the pedal combo of distortion and delay to create a nice wall of sound to close the track. But the real highlight here is Legrand’s vocals which are at the forefront of the track, not muddied into the instrumentation like past albums. Here, her voice is booming loud as ever and soars at the halfway point, singing “found yourself in the new direction / hails far from the sun.”

May 15, the alleged released date of Bloom, can’t get here soon enough. Everyone was in a frenzy the minute “Myth” was released in the middle of the night and they have good reason to be. I can’t imagine what it will be like when the actual album comes out. This is Beach House at their best and shows that they look to top Teen Dream. And with this sample of what’s to come, they certainly might. In the last couple of years, there have been a number of bands that strive for that dream-pop quality in their music. But Beach House continues to prove that they are leaders of that sound, pulling it off with originality, beauty, and grace.