Lemon Glow - Beach House

from the album 7 (2018)

Many moons ago, my buddy Jack needed a place to stay and I let him sleep on my couch.  He wound up staying for four or five months.  It was the most important period in my musical education.

These were the days before Jack became a world-class guitarist.  Days when he would play for ten hours straight, perfecting his technique and tone.  As a gracious host, I would spend several hours a night laying down bass grooves for him to play over.  My faithful basset hound, Elmore James, was usually sleeping on the couch.

We spent endless hours talking about tone.  We would listen to great guitarists, like Dick Dale and B.B. King, and then try to recreate their sound.  It always started with the instrument and amplifier.  Next came the strings.  It is amazing how slight variations in the gauge of a string effects a guitarist's tone.  Equalization and effects also matter.

At the end of the road, you find technique.  Even if you everything perfect, you still can't sound like B.B. King.  Technique.

Those months with Jack forever changed how I listen to music.  Now, I can immediately tell how much attention an artist dedicates towards crafting their tone.  It separates great from good.

That brings me to Beach House and the song Lemon Glow.  Over the past decade, this band has produced some of finest Dream Pop records imaginable.  Their synthesizers, melodies, and performances help define the genre.

Yet on Lemon Glow, they begin to morph their sound.  It is accomplished with magnificently subtle changes in the tones from their synthesizers.  It makes the music darker, deeper.

It is also in the technique.  The opening synthesizer riff has a menacing quality.  This carries through the song, forming a hook - just the way its dreamy predecessors had - yet in a completely different context.

The icing on the cake is the way the drum beats layer over the synthesizers in the closing measures, creating the perfect punctuation mark on a fascinating song.

Thanks again for the schooling, Jack.  My couch is always here for you.

Click Here to watch a trippy video for Lemon Glow by Beach House.

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