Beach House – Devotion (2008)

Beach House - DevotionTwo-piece indie band Beach House‘s much anticipated follow-up to their 2006 self-titled debut brings a serene mix of reading Emily Dickinson poetry and having afternoon frolics through tall grass fields.

Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Alex Scalley (guitar, keyboards) and Victoria Legrand (vocals, organ) have found the equilibrium to day-in/day-out realism and imaginative optimism. While not as cheerful and happy as other (maybe even most) dream pop bands, Beach House does offer the comfort only found in the tranquility of mother birds and their young, nestled far above the rest of the world.

The duo sounds unlike any other contemporary band. That might be because of the inclusion of the often undervalued organ, an instrument that more often than not airs religious and spiritual overtones. Legrand uses the organ’s ability to create expansive harmonies to instead explore grace and purity. While these two qualities may be associated with religion, Beach House is more into corporeal well-being than anything eternal.

The themes and the music fit so perfectly together that’s hard to imagine that only two people made something so complete, yet so deeply rooted in simplicity. It’s easy to get lost within the angelic harmony of Legrand’s vocals and organ tones, but Scalley’s guitar and keyboard melodies are the music’s true foundation. As a whole, the music envelopes you like bright sunlight, but it’s those seemingly steady beats (as in “Turtle Island” and “Holy Dances”) that remind you that the warmth is only temporary.

And that’s okay. Joy is an amazing feeling, whether it is for only several minutes or mere moments. You embrace it all from the bare honesty of “You Came To Me” to the hypnotic tempo of “All The Years” to passionate loyalty of “Gila” — which can be downright depressing (“Hoping for the last ship to arrive / I’ve been blessed with a kingdom, half-mine”) — yet listening to the quasi-anthem “Heart Of Chamber” leaves you feeling nothing short but captivated.

Throw in an affectionate cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Some Things Last A Long Time”, a Karen Carpenter semblance in “Wedding Bells”, and Devotion becomes something more peaceful than any volume of Pure Moods, but less rapturous than divine intervention.

Beach House

Beach House

Beach House (photo by Liz Flyntz)

Beach House (photo by Liz Flyntz)


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Track list:

    1. Wedding Bells
    2. You Came To Me
    3. Gila
    4. Turtle Island
    5. Holy Dances
    6. All The Years
    7. Heart Of Chamber
    8. Some Things Last A Long Time
    9. Astronaut
    10. D.A.R.L.I.N.G.
    11. Home Again

2008 Tour dates:

02/28 Baltimore, MD Gspot
02/29 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
03/01 Atlanta, GA The Earl
03/02 Birmingham, AL BottleTree Cafe
03/03 Memphis, TN The Hi Tone Cafe
03/04 Hattiesburg, MS The Thirsty Hippo
03/05 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
03/06 Houston, TX Walter’s on Washington
03/07 Austin, TX Emo’s
03/08 Denton, TX Hailey’s
03/10 Tucson, AZ Solar Culture
03/11 Phoenix, AZ Modified
03/12 San Diego, CA The Casbah
03/13 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
03/14 San Luis Obispo, CA Steynberg Gallery
03/15 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill <-- ** My calendar is marked ** 03/17 Portland, OR Holocene 03/18 Seattle, WA Chop Suey 03/19 Vancouver, BC Media Club 03/21 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court 03/22 Denver, CO Hi-Dive 03/24 Omaha, NE The Slowdown 03/25 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry 03/26 Chicago, IL Schubas 03/27 Cleveland, OH The Grog Shop 03/28 Toronto, ON El Mocambo 03/29 Montreal, PQ Casa del Popolo 03/31 Cambridge, MA The Middle East 04/01 Middleton, CT. Wesleyan University 04/02 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom 04/03 Philadelphia, PA The Barbery 04/04 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel

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