Headphones are underrated. On an afternoon a few weeks ago, I was walking through Berlin with headphones on and had a quasi-religious experience. It had already started to get dark and the bare tree tops were sticking out against the dark blue sky. I was listening to Beach House’s Teen Dream, an album that came out in 2010 and that I have had on heavy rotation ever since. Perhaps the sound seemed more intense on this quiet street, perhaps it was the fact that it was dark and I paid more attention to what I could hear – but I fell in love with the second song on the record all over again.
It is called Silver Soul and is compelling from the first seconds on: After a quick intro of chirping birds, an organ starts blasting with ferocious intensity. Alex Scalley’s guitar then slowly fades in with a dreamy hook. The song is immediately in full swing and yet moves at a pace that is deliciously slow. The drums, as they melodically creep in, add a machine-like beat that occasionally swells on to accentuate the most passionate singing. And the singing is what this song is all about. Victoria Legrands smoky voice is something I like about all of the band’s songs – but here it sounds like an instrument of its own.
The bodies lying in the sand,
They’re moving in the dark
It is so quick to let us,
We feel it move through our skin
It’s a sickness, a manic weakness, yeah
To me, the best songs are those in which the lyrics are something completely fluid and undefined, leaving room for interpretation. Silver Soul has words that make sense at the same time as they don’t. I honestly have no idea what the band is trying to tell us with the puzzling text, but the sheer intensity of delivery somehow creates new meaning each time I listen.
The greatest kind of music manages to capture a unique energy; a particular sound that feels as though it only came together one single time. The beauty of recording is that it has become suspended in eternity, that it can be forever played back. In effect, such a recording transports us back to the most fleeting moment: to a sentiment, a sound, an instant when a band fully clicked. Silver Soul does exactly that: It is not only a pitch-perfect recording in which all instruments and the singing fit like puzzle pieces, it also has an energy bigger than the sum of its parts. When Victoria Legrande sings “The bodies lying in the sand, they’re moving in the dark“, it sounds as though she loudly sighs, which is amplified for just a single, right moment.
When the song had finished playing, I took out my phone and skipped back to that part. I really can’t get enough of how it all sounds.