Beach House's Become EP: a Review

Beach House surprised the world by releasing a new EP Become, on April 22, 2023. The collection being the second EP in the American dream-pop duo’s discography, follows their 2022 album Once Twice Melody. Victoria Legrand (vocals, keyboard) and Alex Scally (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals) have been making music together since they formed the band in 2004. By October 2006, they had marked their place in the music industry with their self-titled debut album, Beach House, which immediately received critical acclaim. 

Fast forward 17 years, following the band’s nine other albums and their first EP, iTunes Session (2010); Beach Houses’s Become consists of “American Daughter,” “Devil’s Pool,” “Holiday House,” “Black Magic,” and “Become.” These five tracks serve as a sort-of sequel to Once Twice Melody, the duo’s eighth studio album , a double album featuring 18 songs presented in four separate chapters. Fans were teased with each chapter release, balancing at the edge of their seats in excited anticipation until the album was complete, or so they thought. 

Become is not to be mistaken as a fifth chapter in the Once Twice Melody story. Legrand and Scully describe it as “a collection of 5 songs from the Once Twice Melody sessions. We didn’t think they fit in the world of OTM, but later realized they all fit in a little world of their own. To us, they are all kind of scuzzy and spacious, and live in the spirit realm. It’s not really where we are currently going, but it’s definitely somewhere we have been.”

Become is an excellent place for unfamiliar Beach House listeners to delve into the band’s discography. The EP delivers 24 minutes and 29 seconds of classic Beach House sounds. Dreamy lyrics are delivered by Legrand’s soft singing with support from the steady drawl of synthesizers and Scully’s signature guitar arpeggios. The band often seems to enter into another dimension, slightly out of touch with reality, giving listeners the sensation of having their head-in-the-clouds. 

“American Daughter” serves Lana Del Rey-esque lyrics on a typical Beach House instrumental. The band tackles darker themes in the song fittingly called “Devil’s Pool,” setting the tone with eerie echoing vocals and orchestral instrumentation. Take a trip down memory lane in “Holiday House,” a merry-go-round-sounding track that describes childlike fantasies at a familiar getaway; certainly suitable for driving to a cottage in the summer. Return to the city and fantasies continue to run wild in “Black Magic,” which bewitches listeners with lyrics describing “a certain fascination with the dark side of the street,” accompanied by layers of lilting guitars. The EP’s title track builds slowly, much like OTM’s final track, “Modern Love Stories.” A starry synthesizer dances on top of the bass, pulsing like a heartbeat, by far the most obscure-sounding song of the collection.  

Beach House originally released Become in honor of Record Store Day. First conceived in 2007, this event occurs annually on the third Saturday of April and every Black Friday in November. Participating stores in 14 countries, including Canada and the United States “celebrate the unique culture” of independent, “real, live, physical, indie record stores,” according to their official website. LP collectors lucky enough to visit American record stores this year would have had the chance to own one of the limited 8,000 copies of the RSD-exclusive Become edition on crystal clear vinyl. For those who missed out, digital copies of the EP were made available for streaming on April 28. As of Friday, May 19, physical copies of cassettes, CDs, and LPs became within easy reach again, with websites like MegaMart shipping internationally.

Many fans agreed that Become isn’t Beach House’s best work, but they’re happy to listen to anything the duo releases. Fans also commented that much of the compilation sounds abstract and somewhat aimless, undoubtedly a collection of album scraps. Critics echoed the fans’ neutral stance. Pitchfork’s Marc Hogan says, “more of the same is not always unwelcome. If you’re unfamiliar, Become might even be a decent place to start.” Beach House enjoyers alike are undoubtedly excited to see what will follow this EP in the band’s never-ending legacy of stardom.