Beach House's artful myth

By LIZ PELLY  |  October 10, 2012


Victoria Legrand opened her notebook and saw the word "Myths." "There were no other words on the page," says the Beach House singer and keyboardist. "Just 'Myths'. . . . I hadn't even remembered writing it. It was magical. A total sign."

With that, she had named the stunning opening track of the Baltimore dream-pop duo's latest record for Sub Pop, Bloom — the follow-up to 2010's Teen Dream and their fourth full-length overall. "If you build yourself a myth/You'd know just what to give," sings Legrand on the song, a gorgeous, slow-building wash of gauzy synths under her huge smoky voice, and all-captivating atmospherics. Like the rest of the new record, it plays out in the recognizable musical language the duo have crafted since 2006.

"I think that song, in many ways, is a beautiful journey of what it takes to make something and to create something, and the vastness of that," says Legrand from Dallas, between shows on a tour that brings the band to Wilbur Theatre Monday. "But you can look at the words to the song and find different possibilities. It could be a question of being defied and then getting over that. Having a horrible time, moving beyond that. Being lost, and then finding something, someone who makes it better. Or it can be about being creative and making things."

Legrand and guitarist-keyboardist Alex Scally are, foremost, songwriters who carefully emphasize lyrics and structure, with impressionistic songs purposefully leaving room for interpretation. It's a ever-present sentiment that's also reflected in Beach House's navigation of the music world in general — carefully establishing distance and mystery when possible.

From 2006 until now, Legrand says she's seen the rhythm of band life evolve until elaborate contrived biographies and online personae create unnecessary noise around art. "I feel like we started before that, so that doesn't make sense to us," Legrand says. "It was an earlier moment in Pitchfork and blogs. It was a period of excitement, and I felt like there was a newness to it, and people were still innocent. Now it's sort of this era of intense savvy-ness and self-awareness."

She adds: "There's a danger, when you use Twitter all the time about your day and your dog. You're developing these weird identities. You're no longer the artist, you're a personality. With Beach House, we want to put the music first. . . . We're not trying to be personalities."

With an album as exceptional as Bloom, Beach House don't need the gross games of music-industry PR and social-media oversharing. Their resistance to it is artful in itself.


BEACH HOUSE + PAPER MOON :: Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St, Boston :: October 15 @ 8 pm :: 18+ :: $24-$27 :: 617.248.9700 or

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  Topics: Music Features , Music, liz pelly, dream,  More more >
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