Songs of 2010: “Norway”

Beach House - Norway

Beach House – “Norway”
Chickens Don’t Clap!: #3, Treble: #16

I’ve always found myself in the camp that kind of thinks all of Beach House’s songs sound more or less the same, but enjoys a number of them nonetheless. On paper, “Norway” doesn’t stray too far from the formula — droning organs, subtle percussion, reverb-laden guitar work, and resonant vocals — yet simultaneously strikes with a refreshing unfamiliarity and staggering depth. Every element feels perfectly suited for the composition. Following the brief initial hum of organ, a burst of shimmering guitars and Victoria Legrand’s breathy wordless hooks serve as counterpoint to the relative gloom of the verse, where Alex Scally’s guitar work morphs into a suffocating bend and sway while Legrand’s mournful croon pulls the listener down… down… down. Something as simple as the interplay between verse and chorus becomes remarkably moving, ultimately building to the final, soaring refrain of “Norwaaay-ay-ay-ay-ay, ay-ay-ay-aaayyyy”. Right when you think a band had exhausted their sound, they go ahead and make their best work to date without any drastic changes. Touché, Beach House.

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Download: Beach House – Norway
Buy: Order Teen Dream from Sub Pop Records.