Cozy Baltimore lo-fi duo Beach House sharpen their skills on sophomore effort “Devotion.” Without moving away from the slow, dreamy sounds found on their acclaimed self-titled debut, Beach House has found a way to subtly repackage their strong points by reining in some arrangements and softening the rough edges found on their earlier disc.
Singer Victoria Legrand’s pretty voice often sounds as if she’s lost somewhere between a dream and waking life. Multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally’s work is appropriately low-key, and the songs never veer too far away from hushed, slow-tempo territory that Low used to inhabit. Majority of “Devotion’s” songs stay at a simmer, refusing to build into anything larger than the first few opening bars. Generally, it works in the band’s favor, like on the haunting “You Came to Me” and the organ-driven “Home Again” and “Gila,” the disc’s best song. Other tunes, however, could use more of an edge.
The duo also tips their hat to their lo-fi forefathers by successfully covering Daniel Johnston/Jad Fair’s “Some Things Last a Long Time.”