Love Is Real: Beach House Plays Bimbo’s
Ride the undulating “whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh”s of “Real Love” off Beach House’s third album, Teen Dream (Sub Pop), and you’ll find yourself deep in the ether, though Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand don’t seem attached to any demographic in particular. As a matter of fact, the concerns of such songs as “Real Love,” “10 Mile Stereo,” “Better Times,” “Lover of Mine,” and “Used to Be” seem rooted in a teenage world of long ago and far away, regarded through the prism of adulthood.
Beach House’s nostalgia-gauzed peepers gaze back toward long-gone days, when summer at the shore seemed to stretch on into infinity, when stereo coursed out of an analog transistor rather than a podcast, when real love seemed certain yet far away. For that reason, Teen Dream sounds like the duo’s most purely romantic, fully realized recording to date. (Beach House performs at Bimbo's 365 Club on April 14.)
Follow the bouncing piano vamp, urged along with tambourine jangle, to the bright open spaces and mellow guitar twang of “Better Times,” floating on the throaty rasp of Victoria Legrand. Gently reverberating with liberally applied echo and ethereal backing vocals, “Better Times” sounds as if it was created on a silvery, metallic planet of its very own, one pulsing with deeply layered organs and bells. The sound on these songs -- harking to classic ‘60s West Coast pop and gently tugging at the coattails of Phil Spector -- is as much a character as Legrand’s lovelorn lady at the center. It all seems to reach a climax with “Lover of Mine,” which comes laced with cantering carnival organ runs and slide guitar sweetness, while Legrand wails in praise of sailing “off to nowhere.” Beach House’s breed of pop romanticism demands no direction, no easy resolution -- just a sweet breeze and the glorious, goose-bump-inducing moment.
Beach House perform April 14 at Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus, S.F. (415) 474-0365.