Beach House

Clash meets the dreampop duo

Dreampop: where sleep is just one weary breath away. Where sumptuous lullabies slide through your body like warm honey and kaleidoscopic reveries flicker before your eyes. And such is the music of Beach House as it is currently known: soporific cries and twinkling instrumentation ripe with ethereal, dream-inducing qualities: the stuff of fairytales and fantasy novels.

So, this dreampop tag to which the Baltimore duo have now become linked is a wholly fitting description, if ever there was one, and is at the same time something that vocalist Victoria Legrand doesn’t seem to mind too much about. “Dreampop is a harmless label and people need genres to understand things, especially if you’re in the industry as that’s how you get people to read about things,” she remarks. “I don’t think it pigeonholes you unless you make an issue out of it. The ‘dream’ word is mentioned a lot with our music. It has a lot of dreams in it for sure, but with this record there are definitely other words that also spring to mind.”

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This is an excerpt from an article that appears in the March issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from February 4th. You can read the full issue online HERE and subscribe to Clash Magazine HERE.

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The production value of ‘Teen Dream’ is notably different – you only have to listen to ‘Zebra’ or ‘Silver Soul’ to realise that – but how does the rest of its musical content compare to the band’s previous work? “This record has a lot of sex in it and it has more balls,” says Legrand. “We’re not flowery people at all, even though people may think we are – we’re intense and can actually be pretty vulgar and honest. I think it’s much more of a physical record for us, it’s more there and in-your-face, it’s meatier. The mystery is still there but I think it’s more alive.”

So, it is a little off the mark to call the album ‘floaty’, something which perhaps rings true of debut ‘Beach House’. And there is definitely something more grounded and earthy about ‘Teen Dream’, with its solid organ tones and Legrand’s deep alto vocals, which sound more distinct than ever before. The overall effect is one of understated drama that is not as delicate sounding as before, but is indeed a lot more ‘meatier’, as Legrand herself declares.

And Legrand’s cultural heritage lies in the chic Rues Parisiennes, where she was born to her film composer father – Michel Legrand – and mother Christiane Legrand, a French singer. Her bi-lingual finesse is the envy of many a Francophile. Raised on a farm in Maryland, and having lived in New York through her college years, Legrand has the advantage and experience of trans-Atlantic breeding. And her musical offerings can fully reap the benefits of this.

But where does her Beach House partner – Alex Scally – fit in? “We met about five and a half years ago when I had just moved back from Paris after studying theatre,” she recalls. “I decided that I wanted to fully commit to music, so I moved to Baltimore because I had a friend there who I had been making and playing music with in college. He introduced me to Alex and one day we started playing music together. In less than a year the Beach House wheels were rolling. There was definitely a lot of musical chemistry right from the start.”

It is in Baltimore where Legrand and Scally have remained ever since, diligently writing music in their own private recording space. And it is there that they will continue to make waves for the foreseeable future, surrounded by “a lot of organs, and a hell of a lot of random objects”…

Words by April Welsh

Read ClashMusic’s review of Beach House’s latest album, ‘Teen Dream’, HERE.

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