Beach House - Forever Still
One of my favourite things about Beach House is that I cannot conceive of creating something similar to their music. This is dream pop at its finest – a haze of beautifully visual imagery in an atmospheric cloud of synthesizers and electric guitars. The band creates a mood in each song that is unmistakably theirs. It’s really quite difficult not to forget yourself completely when you are immersed in any one of their five albums. Making an overview of this incredibly prolific band is quite an overwhelming task, so I’d like to talk about Forever Still – the short film they blessed us with in February of twenty thirteen.
In the description of Forever Still, Pitchfork describes it as an “atmospheric short film”. This is apt, and I would expect nothing less from the band that makes me forget the bustle of the inner city streets in which I spend much of my time. The twenty seven minute film is structured as a series of striking performances in different locations. It includes lengthy moments of watching the band drive from one location to the next in the changing light.
A deserted, arid landscape is interrupted by the band playing the song, Wild, after the opening scenes of travelling along an empty road to get there. As the song builds, the clouds multiply and the sky turns from pink to dark grey. The earth is indeed wild in the deserted Texas location and the moodiness of the vast, empty expanse of land is in perfect company with the poetry of the song.
And in a while,
You start a smile.
The earth is wild.
You’ve got no time.
The song draws to a close and the band packs up and leaves their first location. The camera casts a lingering look at the surroundings and at the band members as they prepare to leave. Then, as though on cue, the sky releases delicate flashes of bright white lightning.
A blue black road leads us off the beaten track to an outdoor parking lot where the band is illuminated by a row of car headlights in the dark. Something I really enjoy about Beach House’s performance is that they seem quite indifferent to the audience. I almost feel as though I am intruding on a private moment between the band and the music and it’s glorious! Here they are slightly obscured by the dark and the shadows as they go on to bless us with a rendition of The Hours.
We follow the dashboard camera onto a dirt road and into a clearing beside two large silos. The whimsical Wishes, emerges from between clouds of smoke and dust. Along the path we are greeted by two horses and a dog, surprised to see headlights in the dark of the night. The billows of lifted dust accompany the band until they leave, creating a beautiful visual effect to accompany the music. The song’s combination of depressive and whimsical moods is well suited to the dry expanse of farmyard land.
The voices in the hall
Will carry on their talking
Carry weight you can’t take
Wishes on a wheel
Is it even real?
The sun rises on a synthesizer-lead Irene. We see the band member’s faces the most intimately during this song. As the lyrics go, it’s a strange paradise indeed! While Beach House’s music on its own has a great capacity to create worlds in the minds of its listeners, Forever Still adds a visual element to this experience. It is an explosion of colour and mood in its unique, melancholy way. This song is an amazing choice for the short film’s closing and the sunrise in this location creates a paradoxical sense of ending and beginning simultaneously. The band creates life on the dry earth, surrounded by rock and mountain and it does the same in the fertile ground of its viewer’s minds.