Music Review: Beach House's Devotion

by Justin Wilder
Special to iVoryTowerz

Baltimore natives Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally – aka Beach House – ebb and flow on their second LP, Devotion. (The duo released an eponymous debut in 2006.) The 11 songs soar lightly over their carefully constructed soundscape of drones, electronic drums and reverb, with very few rough patches.

Singer-keyboardist Legrand, who sounds eerily like Nico, but much more seductive, croons and whispers her way through songs about youthful love, sexuality and regret. "Give a little more than you like / Pick apart the past, you're not going back" she sings on “Gila.” She channels her inner Jim Morrison on "You Came to Me" ("Invite your sister / Into the garden / Oh, can I play") and purrs "Your wish is my command" on the smooth opening track "Wedding Bell." It’s the subtle, wry sexuality that makes Legrand’s sound even more seductive. She is like a lounge singer on a luxurious cruise ship, slowly hypnotizing you with her fuzzed organ, murky electronic drum beats and the rocking of the waves. Bandmate Scally's liquid slide guitar and occasional crooked melody line adds more dimension to these simple chord structures, repetitive melodies and sole vocalist.

This type of simple pleasure comes with a price, however. As is the case with many records in this style, the sound can get sleepy. Beach House is no exception to this and tracks like "Astronaut" and "All The Years" drown the intricacies of melody and instrumentation in the thick sound. The cruise ship, almost tropical sound of the record can ultimately wear you down. But this is forgivable as there are more pleasant dreamlike songs than downers. Maybe it’s just Legrand's warm, seductive tones, but I know that while I wait for winter to turn into spring, I will be more than happy to put on a record that reminds me of warmer, happier times.

(Promotional photo of Beach House from Carpark Records. To see Beach House's music video for "You Came to Me," please check below.)

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