The decade that has just passed gave us a new musical sub-genre, most succinctly described as blogosphere indie. This successor to what was once known as American college rock shares a few commonalities with its predecessor. Intellect is rightly prized, as is a wide-ranging appetite for different sounds. Think of the finer discoveries, like Beirut or Vampire Weekend, and their remodelling of Balkan and African source musics, or Arcade Fire, mob-handed and full throated in their pursuit of percussive pop.
But where the college rock of the 90s still rocked out, most blogosphere indie wouldn't dream of doing anything so vulgar. It tends towards the orchestral and refracted (Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective) or the flowering of interior worlds (Bon Iver) – all laudable ends when pursued with artfulness and singularity. But among the revelations are scads of inoffensive indie outfits unworthy of all the garrulous excitability that comes with an internet connection.
Beach House come perilously close to being such a concern. The third album by the Baltimore keyboard duo, Teen Dream, currently basks in a fond buzz built organically since their hazy, self-titled debut of 2006. Beach House's vague wistfulness has attracted nods towards bands like Mazzy Star and Galaxie 500. They were brilliant, whereas Beach House are merely all right. Songs like "Silver Soul" (Galaxie 500 meets Arcade Fire, at a push) are more substantial than their previous works, which wafted in on the breeze, never registering on the memory. It is undeniably pleasant. Dreamy, even.
But that is not enough. In their late 20s, Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand have much to commend them. Boy-girl dream-pop bands make for a fruitful formation – just listen to the XX – and Beach House throw curve balls in not being a romantic couple.
Legrand is a Frenchwoman voluntarily living in Baltimore, and Teen Dream is, allegedly, about the intensity of feeling experienced by teenagers. There is a BBC 6Music hit in the making in the form of "Walk in the Park", but other tracks are lovelorn sweet nothings suited to that most noughties of music vectors, mobile telephony ads. Teen Dream has nothing of the frustration, intensity, ferocity or wild extremes of adolescence. This polite, pretty record will sound nice when it comes on, and waft away, overtaken by the next blogosphere indie crush.