Band of the Week: Beach House
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
Fun Fact: Vocalist/keyboardist Victoria Legrand, the niece of French composer Michel Legrand, was born in France and city-hopped until settling in Baltimore’s tight-knit music community.
Why It's Worth Watching: Beach House’s dreamy, reverb-soaked songs are the perfect soundtrack for wintertime solitude.
For Fans Of: Grizzly Bear, Broadcast, Mazzy Star
Beach House’s otherworldly music is a sly pickpocket of reveries from that delicate time between when your head hits the pillow and you hazily submit to slumber. Although “dream pop” sounds like would what happen if Rainbow Brite got the hankering to rock, it’s nevertheless become the elected label for the band’s muted sound.
“I love pop music, and I guess the music that we make is admittedly ethereal in some way,” says guitarist/keyboardist Alex Scally. “It’s just the tones and the soundscapes we like.” After meeting French-born Victoria Legrand through a mutual friend in Maryland, the two classically trained musicians detected their compatibility and peeled off from their first somewhat-dysfunctional band to form a now-inseparable pair.
Beach House’s first self-titled release was written in the anti-throes of Baltimore. The album garnered ill-fitting comparisons to more docile bands such as Slowdive and Galaxie 500, some of which Scally sheepishly admits he has yet to hear. But the duo's sophomore record, Devotion, is a child from a different climate. Penned during tours with the likes of the Clientele and Grizzly Bear, the cozy lineage of songs crawls with MicroKorg synth chords, slide guitars and Legrand’s breathy alto. “Compared to the first one, [Devotion]’s a million times more tense. It is subdued, but everything about it is crystal and obsessive and tight,” Scally says. “If you think about the first record as a lazy compliment, this one is a stinging insult.”
Both musicians have very particular ideas about the way their output should sound, Scally says. “I have never spent as much time around somebody in my life as Victoria.” But they relish in the intensity of a duo’s dynamics and “trying to get the most out of a few instruments,” even if it means spending saturated amounts of time together. “I don’t think your life is ever the same from year to year,” Scally says. “Hopefully when we sit down and start writing our third record, we’ll be in some new climate.”