Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 1/7/10.
Formed in 2004, Beach House is a Baltimore dream-pop duo featuring vocalist/organist Victoria Legrand and guitarist/keyboardist Alex Scally. While Victoria is the niece of famed French musical composer Michel Jean Legrand and famed French vocalist Christiane Legrand of the Swingle Sisters. Beach House is influenced by acts like Big Star, the Zombies, and Brian Wilson among others. In 2006, the band released their self-titled debut through Carpark Records. With songs written by Victoria Legrand, the album is an evocative, dream-like record that features Scally's hypnotic arrangements dreamy guitar pop and subtle electronic sounds mixed in with Legrand's ethereal, chilling vocals. The result is a fascinating debut album from Beach House.
The album opener Saltwater is led by soft, mid-tempo beats with shimmering guitar tracks with bass-droning organ flourishes. Along with chime-like keyboards, Victoria Legrand sings with her ethereal, low-pitch vocals with esoteric lyrics filled with melancholia as the instruments swoon through the entire song. Tokyo Witch is a chilling, mid-tempo track with soft, pounding bass beats with shaking percussions. With Legrand's dreamy vocals and haunting lyrics, the song includes a sliding guitar sound that is followed by a melodic guitar flourish and a brief synthesizer track. Apple Orchard is a somber yet atmospheric track led by synthesizer-heavy swoons and soft, drum machine tracks as Legrand sings in her nocturnal yet evocative vocals. Featuring some imagery-laden lyrics and slithery guitar slides, the song is a highlight thanks in part to Legrand's amazing vocal range and Alex Scally's arrangements.
Master Of None is an upbeat song of sorts with pounding beats and swirling keyboard tracks as Legrand sings the song with her hollow yet engaging vocals filled with dark, eerie lyrics. Featuring Scally's dreamy guitar slides, the song revels in its dark lyrical tone mixed in with hypnotic arrangements as Legrand's vocals are the highlight. Auburn And Ivory is a chilling yet hypnotic track led by a heavy, harpsichord-like keyboard riff and slow yet steady beats. Legrand's eerie vocals filled with cryptic lyrics laden with dark imagery shows the band taking on dark sounds that includes Scally's arrangements of eerie slides and mesmerizing keyboard tracks that is followed by a smooth, wailing organ. Childhood is an upbeat track of sorts led by a melodic organ track and thumping tambourine hits as Legrand sings calmly with its mesmerizing, imagery-laden lyrics. With Scally's arrangements of soothing guitar slides and arpeggio-laden keyboard flourishes, it's definitely the album's richest cut.
Lovelier Girl is led by a swirling, chime-like keyboard track with soft, thumping beats and a bass-droning organ track as Legrand sings in her hollow, low-pitch vocals. With Scally's arpeggio-laden guitar riffs and subtle electronic arrangements, it's a song that is rich in its presentation while paying true to the dream-pop sub genre. House On The Hill is led by hollow, metallic percussion beats with Scally's melodic guitar track. The song includes wailing keyboard flourishes to accompany Legrand's somber vocals with its descriptive, haunting lyrics as it surrounded by its flourishing keyboard chimes. The album closer is the seven-minute, fifty-second Heart And Lungs which is led by soft, clock-like beats that thump through along with swooning keyboard chimes. Legrand's vocals take charge with her dreamy, nocturnal vocals filled with dream-like lyrics as its subtle presentation and Legrand's vocals make this as a superb closer for the album.
Beach House's self-titled debut is a hypnotic, mesmerizing album from the Baltimore duo. While it may have a few consistency issues in the middle of the album along with several down-tempo tracks that might not please some listeners. It's a record that fans of the dream-pop sub genre will enjoy in its richness, Alex Scally's arrangements, and Victoria Legrand's vocals. Beach House's self-titled debut is a stellar album from one of the current rising act of indie rock.
(C) thevoid99 2011