Getting the chance to listen to the 'B-Sides' of an artist's work is a special experience for any die-hard fan of music. It allows listeners to dive into to minds of their favorite bands and listen to unreleased tracks that helped influence and build a discography. B-Sides aren't unheard of, however, their presence is still a treat, as they are harder to come by and often more personal than full lengths or original released compilations. The same feeling of contentment comes with B-Sides and Rarities by dream pop staple Beach House, released through Sup Pop Records Friday, an album filled with over ten years of previously unreleased work, hidden gems, and remixes.
After discovering how many tracks the band had actually recorded but never released to the public, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, the voices, sounds, and minds behind Beach House, decided to compile the best of the unheard into B-Sides and Rarities, which initially sounds so cohesive and put together that, without the title making it so blatantly obvious on what content was inside, it might have been hard to tell that the 14-track collection was anything but new.
Though, once listeners are aware of what they're getting into, B-Sides becomes even more special. Unheard standouts such as 'Baby' and 'Wherever You Go' (a hidden track from critically acclaimed Bloom) allow listeners to guess and research when tracks were originally recorded during the band's extensive history, and with nearly a decade of strong albums behind them, it can be hard decipher where on the Beach House timeline each one goes.
Aside from new 'old' songs, B-Sides and Rarities also contains less noteworthy and interesting remixes of tracks we're already familiar with. 'White Moon-iTunes Sessions Remix' is still a good addition to the compilation; it's strangely snappy coming from Beach House, a band usually reserved for critical thinking and intense sessions of nostalgia, but it doesn't come close to the novelty of a song brought back from the dead to be showcased in digital downloading or vinyl playbacks.
The good songs on B-Sides and Rarities are nothing new for those familiar with the hazy sound of Beach House, and utilize all the elements that come with the classic staples of the band; tambourines and the soft, hazy voice of Legrand work together in a comfortable harmony, as usual, taking regular listeners nowhere from their comfort zone.
There are a select few songs, however, that push the sound of dream pop in a way that's almost too foggy to fully get into; 'Play The Game' seems to go on forever despite its four-minute marker and 'The Arrangement' sounds awkwardly childlike. But, the point of a B-Sides album isn't to make a flawless record, it's to give people back-burner tracks that never made the cut for full-length albums and looked over singles or remixes that got lost in the midst of it all. B-Sides and Rarities doesn't necessarily bring anything exciting to the table, but then again, it never promised to.
For Beach House fans, their latest release is a collector's item to cherish and overplay, as B-Sides often are. However, the album is likely to be overlooked by listeners unfamiliar with the band or the genre they've mastered over the last decade….as B-Sides often are. But, in typical Beach House fashion, the leisurely and critically dreamy sound of B-Sides and Rarities suggest that members of the band can't be bothered to care.