Beach House at Brixton Academy
Beach House can be a bit of a tough sell live – their music is dizzy and full of homogenous sounds – and yet, at every performance they put their audience under a spell. Victoria Legrand’s whispery vocals are not easy to recreate in person; there is a heavy reliance on factors like atmosphere and mood, as well as visuals and lights. Factors like the venue and the crowd play a big role in the success or failure of this type of show. The Brixton crowd wasn’t the most attentive yesterday – not everybody seemed particularly invested in what was happening on stage – but Brixton Academy, a very scenic venue, proved to be the perfect fit for the Baltimore duo.
They are now touring in support of Once Twice Melody, their latest album of 18 tracks, which runs to almost an hour and a half and was released in four “chapters” over the course of several months. As well loved by critics as their previous records, this one has received several positive reviews, including a 7.8 review from Pitchfork, who are notoriously hard to please. Once Twice Melody is a major work, a unified piece and perhaps it would have been interesting to hear a set fully dedicated to it. That, though, would have denied the audience older masterpieces like Space Song and the legendary Take Care, which usually gives Legrand the opportunity to really let loose with her vocals.
Although older songs like PPP and Lazuli get enthusiastic reactions straight away, the new ones are also quite impressive: Only You Know, Once Twice Melody and Superstar are all destined to be future hits. Overall, the set is fairly diversified.
The visuals and lighting are beautifully curated throughout, with swirling black lodges, shooting stars and long, deserted roads all managing to somehow encapsulate the mood. The lights are wide and hypnotising, bathing the stage in profiled shadow, and helping the mysterious duo to keep their faces hidden. Scally and Legrand are not big talkers – they rarely interrupt the flow of their music with words – which is also why, for an hour and a half, it felt like floating in space.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Beach House’s website here.
To watch Beach House perform new song Superstar at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert here: