Beach House (Boston Herald, 3.28.10)

Posted on April 6, 2010


As fans of “The Wire” know, there are few places in the U.S. less dreamy than Baltimore.

But the city has given us dream-pop duo Beach House, whose slow-moving songs of love and loss play like soundtracks to lost fantasy flicks.

“You make what you want out of being here,” French-born vocalist Victoria Legrand said by phone during a week long break between a European and American tour that hits a sold-out Paradise tonight. “You do your own thing and nobody gets in anybody’s way. Everyone’s doing everything and it’s a nice chaos.”

Legrand, 28, moved to Baltimore six years ago fresh out of Vassar College and a year and a half studying theater in France.

“A friend from school lived there, and I had always had family there,” she said. “I wasn’t interested in reciting other people’s texts. I just followed my instincts and this is where I am now.”

Legrand met guitarist Alex Scally, a 27-year-old Baltimore native, through a friend. The groundwork for Beach House was soon set. The band won favor with indie fans with its 2006 self-titled debut, a languid recording produced over three days in Scally’s basement. The underdog equipment and first-take feel gives the album the immediacy of a mix-tape.

Those days in their basement Eden are long gone. Legrand and Scally have played more than 300 shows around the world since then. The duo now takes a live drummer on the road and their latest release and first for Sub Pop Records, “Teen Dream,” employed a full studio of help. Though their music still stands on hazy keyboards and elementary metronome beats, “Teen Dream” is a wide-screen panorama compared to the handmade construction of past recordings. But the old approach hasn’t been entirely forgotten.

“You can never go back to where you were,” Legrand said. “Nothing has ever been truly definitive with what we’re doing. But I think we’re always trying to get back to a place of innocence, a place that is not distracted, so we can write. That hasn’t changed. We need a place to create our fantasies.”

In the meantime, the band has forged ahead. “Teen Dream” comes with a DVD full of videos. And Legrand has been discovered by countless thousands of new fans thanks to her vocals on a standout track (“Slow Life”) on the “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” soundtrack by fellow dream-pop architects and band buddies Grizzly Bear.

“I can’t tell how any of it has really affected anything,” she said. “They asked, and it’s hard to say no to your friends. I mean, it’s cool to be a part of a vampire movie – I love vampires. But I guess I won’t know what effect it’s had until I see more gothic teens at our shows.”

Posted in: Boston Herald