Available on: Sub Pop download

It has been twenty years since Sub Pop released Nirvana’s Bleach, a sludgy blast of Neanderthal riffing and disaffected rage that made the Seattle-based imprint the most influential independent rock label in the world at the start of the 90s. In recent years, Sub Pop has evolved and diversified, the ragged, punk-spirited fury of bands like Soundgarden and L7 has been largely replaced by more refined song writers such as Iron and Wine, Fleet Foxes and The Postal Service.

Beach House are far more closely aligned with Sub Pop’s mature output than the label’s petulant early years. The jangling arpeggios and elegant lugubriousness of ‘Norway’ suggest the influence of gloomy Brits such as The Smiths and My Bloody Valentine, while singer Victoria Legrand’s beautiful voice possesses the same jaded intimacy that endeared Stevie Nicks to millions. Beach House are an accomplished band, and ‘Norway’ is a decent song, although it seems doubtful we’ll look back on it as any kind of landmark in 2029.

Colin McKean



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