Group of Seven



Beach House


Beach House make it sound so easy. The Bal­ti­more duo have yet to re­lease a bad song, and their core sonic blue­print — Vic­to­ria Le­grand’s sonorous vo­cals and purring or­gan, Alex Scally’s twin­kling gui­tars — seems bul­let­proof. Their sev­enth al­bum keeps their streak alive; if you’re look­ing for curve­balls, you’ve come to the wrong band. Beach House con­tinue to ex­plore new cran­nies of their fa­mil­iar dream pop sound, oc­ca­sion­ally high­light­ing a new as­pect of their style with­out ever chang­ing it com­pletely. The pitch-warped synths of “Lemon Glow” cap­ture the band at their trip­pi­est, while “L’In­con­nue” lay­ers Le­grand’s re­verb-soaked vo­cals like a church hym­nal, and hyp­notic seven-minute closer “Last Ride” is led by an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally sparse pi­ano fig­ure. Mi­nor evo­lu­tions aside, there’s not a whole lot to set 7 apart from the six al­bums that pre­ceded it. Don’t take them for granted, since it’s hard to think of an­other band that has de­liv­ered so re­li­ably for this long. (Bella Union/Sub Pop)

that Joyride was due for a roll­out in 2015, but de­spite a sin­gle or two, it looked like it wouldn’t see the light of day. A sec­ond ef­fort, 2016’s Night­shade, was a mix­tape meant to tide us over, but by then we were too primed for the much-promised re­lease. Joyride is fi­nally here and it high­lights the artist’s prom­ise and po­ten­tial, while, at the same time, leav­ing us won­der­ing what the wait was about. The ti­tle track is a fore­bod­ing num­ber, de­spite its hard-driv­ing prom­ise of “liv­ing life,” with omi­nous per­cus­sion giv­ing way to a sur­pris­ing string-ori­ented groove at its cli­max. That’s the over­all feel of Ti­nashe the per­former and vo­cal­ist: a mix of in­no­cence, am­bi­tion and sen­su­al­ity. “He Don’t Want It” is a sleepy, en­tic­ing bed­room jam; “Ooh La La” is a breezy midtempo song about un­re­quited love; and “Stuck With Me” is a fun, stripped-down dance­able dis­trac­tion à la Janet Jack­son, but then comes along a track like “No Con­test” that feels like a num­ber Ciara might have passed on in 2012.

What’s it like mak­ing al­bum seven com­pared to al­bum one?

Le­grand: The older we get, the less of a fuck we give. You can see it in all peo­ple as they get older, un­til you’re in your 70s and you’re wear­ing three dif­fer­ent kinds of out­fit all at the same time. I think a nat­u­ral part of get­ting older is you just give less and less of a fuck. I think for artists, it’s a re­ally amaz­ing, fas­ci­nat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Most artists, prob­a­bly, are into get­ting older, be­cause of that feel­ing.

How does not giv­ing a fuck im­pact your mu­sic?

When I say “not giv­ing a fuck,” I just mean that. As you’re mak­ing some­thing, you erad­i­cate the knowl­edge of other things around you. You just fully go into your fan­tasy or your night­mare or your ob­ses­sion. That en­ergy of not car­ing at all what any­thing par­tic­u­larly means when you’re mak­ing it is just get­ting more solid as Alex and I work to­gether.

Things pick up with “Salt,” a sen­sual, slowed-down gui­tar-driven ef­fort, show­cas­ing Ti­nashe’s ma­tur­ing vo­cals, while the poppy, straight­for­ward “Faded Love” is des­tined to be a hit, as is the chill groove that is “No Con­test” and the pop bal­lad of “Stay the Night.” In­deed, whether by per­cep­tion or re­al­ity, the vibe can’t help but feel a bit dated through Joyride, with grooves and chords feel­ing a bit “early to mid­decade” in­stead of 2018. Ti­nashe’s Joyride is a stop-start jour­ney that doesn’t quite stall out, but does feel like some ground has been lost. It does move, how­ever, and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see where things go from here. (RCA) R& B Iso­la­tion is a sure-footed dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence, and each track presents one of Uchis’s dif­fer­ent facets. The al­bum’s col­lab­o­ra­tors are cu­rated per­fectly; with help from Thun­der­cat, Steve Lacy and Jorja Smith, Uchis floats seam­lessly be­tween moods and gen­res. She driz­zles liq­uid vo­cals over stand­outs like “Just a Stranger,” “Tyrant” and the mo­ti­va­tional funk bal­lad “Af­ter the Storm.” The spirit of Amy Wine­house echoes on sweep­ing soul tracks like “Flight 22” and “Feel Like a Fool,” and Uchis flirts with hip-hop on “Com­ing Home,” an in­ter­lude that begs to be a full song. Putting a spot­light on her Colom­bian roots, Uchis sprin­kles in dashes of Span­ish and teams up with Reykon for “Nue­stro Plan­eta,” last sum­mer’s sul­try reg­gae­ton scorcher. Iso­la­tion works be­cause Uchis dis­plays im­pec­ca­ble com­mand over her voice and her style, bend­ing gen­res to her will rather than al­low­ing them to ab­sorb her iden­tity. (Rinse/ Vir­gin/EMI)

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