Wednesday, 17 February 2010


For Student Direct.

Beach House @ Islington Mill

AS FAR AS BALTIMORE's musical givings go, they don't come in hordes. After casually following the steady but subtle progression of Beach House since their formation in 2005, I was astonished with the buzzing reception at their show, promoted by increasingly-esteemed club night Now Wave (motto being 'new music, and only new music that we really like'). I succumbed to the beckoning but coolly unbothered finger of Now Wave's elitist yet admirable attitude, and really, really liked Beach House's performance held within the bleak looking but apparently cosy Islington Mill.

Earlier material was kept to a minimum, much to the glee of the equally-balanced boy/girl crowd, quickly falling in love with both Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand (who recently lent her vocals to Grizzly Bear's 'Slow Life' for Twilight: New Moon.) Justly, songs from all the former albums peppered the hour-long set, but it was songs from most recent record Teen Dream that pleased Beach House's unthreateningly cool and chillaxed crowd in the Salford dungeony depths. Unarguably sounding like Nico on a happier day, and utterly true to the ethereal requirements of label Sub Pop (and internationally, Bella Union, in particular), they echoed the likes of Mazzy Star (with 'Silver Soul' specifically) and Cocteau Twins; the two also retained a charged onstage relationship that is almost cinematic; the duo seem like the softer, sweeter, art-house Jack and Meg.

And in complimentary contrast to the band's association to the aforementioned vampire-themed teen-pleasing cult, the show could have made for the ideal movie soundtrack to a Coppola film (Sofia not Francis Ford), embroiled as they were in musical bouquet. In doing so, BH defined quite darkly and dreamily the romantic turmoil of youth. Standout songs were 'Gila,' 'Walk in the Park,' 'Zebra' and 'Apple Orchard,' the latter two displaying typically BH shoe gaze/dream-pop reverb. Their live sound emitted a sleepy hypnosis that held the audience captive and half awake, albeit entranced in the most controlled and purposeful of ways.

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