It’s that abstract moodiness that lets Beach House headline festivals while still occupying the same sonic territory they started exploring as far back as 2008’s Devotion. Every guitar slide and modulated organ chord that survived the final studio cut serve to establish a sound that is as equally somber as it is triumphant. Alex Scally might be one of the most understated lead guitarists in popular music. He’s like an indie rock middle reliever: the better he does his job, the less noticeable he seems. It’s not an easy trick to pull off, and that’s one of the main reasons BH are playing Sunday main stage slots while a dozen bands emulating them are barely visible at the bottom of Coachella’s lineup poster.
Repeated listens reveal a bit of experimentation. Drummer Chris Bear (of Grizzly Bear fame) adds some extra muscle to a few of the tracks, and a church choir rings in album closer “Days of Candy”. There’s small details like those throughout the album, but ultimately these songs sound like they were designed to stand alone with as little clutter as possible. Minimalism is the name of the game on Cherry, and it works more often than not. While nothing soars to the heights of Bloom‘s “Irene” (and really, not many songs do), the valleys here are still perched far above sea level.