Release Date: Feb 26, 2008
Record label: Carpark
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
With Devotion, Beach House prove once again that they're one of the more strangely named bands around. Their music is so lonely, so haunting, that the only beach house it evokes is a deserted one, stranded on a winter night so desolate that summer isn't even a memory. Then again, that atmosphere is precisely what made Beach House's self-titled debut so striking, and Devotion is even more so, since Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally bring more focus, depth, and warmth to their unmistakable sound.
This Baltimore band manages to conjure an impressive, enveloping sound for a mere two-piece. The lo-fi arrangements on their second full-length, Devotion — a faint organ riff here, a distant chime there, a mournful chant floating above it all — smartly tease the border between ”pretty” and ”eerie.” But the tempos range from leisurely to glacial, and the songs often feel as if they’ve been left half-written. Despite the gorgeous production, listening to 11 of these ragged dirges in a row requires unconditional Devotion.
Destroyer With his fey voice and acoustic guitar, the songwriter Dan Bejar, who records as Destroyer when he’s not with the New Pornographers or his other projects, might have been perfectly suited for a career in pretty soft rock, mid-1970s style. The beginning of Destroyer’s eighth album, “Trouble in Dreams” (Merge), sounds like that’s what he decided to do, just strumming an acoustic guitar while electric guitars trace delicate leads. As usual, the tranquillity doesn’t last.
Baltimore duo Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand proved aptly named on 2006's self-titled debut, a mixture of sunshine pop and Mazzy Star reverb. With follow-up Devotion, they've gone from rolling around in the sand to a full-on séance. Scally continues to use slide guitar as the heavy current into which Legrand's organ falls, but her voice has matured.
On their self-titled 2006 debut LP, Beach House sounded like one. Off-season maybe, creaky, with sunburnt flaking paint, but idyllic in a way – like a yellowed Polaroid that distills a summer bliss, but holds it at a distance that ultimately proves inaccessible. It was a weathered record, one that sounded old, but like memory and nostalgia, its origin seemed a fiction of the mind rather than some cheaper genre revival.