Reaching for something bigger for their eighth album, Beach House released a double album of 18 songs back in February. Once Twice Melody is separated into four chapters – Pink Funeral, New Romance, Masquerade, & Modern Love Stories – each named for a song in the section. It’s not unusual for the duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally to release this many tracks, in 2015 they released the albums Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars less than two months apart. However, a double album is a different beast all together.
The first chapter, Pink Funeral, is one of the album’s best. The title track arrives in a swirl of synths with a soft drum beat appears that sounds like it’s played beneath a pillow. Strings appear when Legrand delivers the “no matter where you go” line. Throughout the album, many tracks differ in how Legrand uses her voice. A more serious, determined voice brings a harder edge to third single “Superstar” whereas her voice takes a more ethereal, floating quality on “Through Me”.
Slightly weaker in quality, The New Romance chapter is highlighted by the seven minute opus “Over and Over”. Driven by a simple beat, the song drifts along but adds brighter synths and a shimmering chorus. Masquerade contains two of the albums best tracks. Acoustic guitars are prominent on “Sunset” as Legrand reminds us that “just one key ties everything”. A sun dappled vibe features on “Only You Know” with a echoe-y chant of “Don’t….Blink…”
Once Twice Melody closes with the Modern Love Stories set of tracks. A basic Casio keyboard beat powers excellent second single “Hurts to Love”. The uplifting song tells listeners that “If it hurts to love/you better do it anyway”. More darker and tension filled is album closer, “Modern Love Stories”. The track has a mature electronic sound that reminds of Pet Shop Boys where “The end is the beginning/beginning to an ending”.
With this many tracks, the Beach House sound both expands and contracts. Like most double albums a few tracks could have been left on the cutting room floor however, the band sets that floor very high. On Once Twice Melody, Beach House have created an expansive album that envelops the listener into a more dreamy and sumptuous world.