Beach House, although not quite a household name, have become synonymous with indie-rock chic and, more importantly, incredible consistency.
Formed in Baltimore in 2004 by Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, Beach House are a rare modern-day example of a band combining uncompromising aesthetics tied together with impeccable taste. Since their eponymous debut album in 2006, they have risen in the esteem of both critics and public to become what they are now: a hard-working and dynamic duo, as comfortable on worldwide festival stages as intimistic venues. On top of that, their underground ethics are as strong as ever, stating recently they would « continue to let [themselves] evolve while fully ignoring the commercial context in which we exist ».
As if to prove their point, the official single off the record, ‘Sparks’ is perhaps noisier, and more dissonant than their earlier releases, bringing repetitive guitars to a trance-like point as it takes flight. If hazy and often minimalist arrangements characterize their music, and give it an immediately recognizable colour, Beach House have proven that they are also capable of letting a much wider and cinematic scope shine through. Indeed, the influence of golden 60’s west-coast pop is never far on Depression Cherry, as shown in their Beach Boys-meets-Morricone ‘Days of Candy’, the grandiose finish to the album. Legrand’s naturally deep and rich vocal tones also constitute a big part of what makes them unique, as shown on the beautiful cascading melodies on ’10 :37’. Contrary to what the album’s name suggests, it is never dreary, and often evokes a pretty kind of melancholy, or nostalgic daydreaming.
The lack of artifice, the almost-timid attitude with which Legrand and Scully explore raw emotion is always touching, even though maturity is a word we’d be tempted to use as their work subtly evolves with each new record. And new records are not a rare commodity: 2015 was rich with a second full-length release, Thank Your Lucky Stars, another gem-filled, drum machine-fueled record. Complete with trademark vintage organ sounds, slide guitars and heart-wrenching ballads, it is a real insight into what makes this band so appealing: a complete disregard for trends, combined with true musical and personal identity (this record, much like every one of its predecessors, was conceived in their sound-lab-cum-recording studio in a Baltimore warehouse).
They are one of the few contemporary bands that could claim to be the soundtrack to many people’s lives over the past decade, but never would because of their natural tendency for the private and intimate. The chronically humble outfit, simply put, has a great talent for producing deceptively simple tunes that will stick with you through break-ups, rough winters, and hot, dreamy summers alike.
SubPop, the legendary Seattle-based indie rock label, has generously shared the band’s latest albums for free streaming:
Also available on Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/35vTE3hx3AAXtM6okpJIIt
Find them on Facebook for the latest news: https://www.facebook.com/beachhouse/