Think of Baltimore and what comes to mind? McNulty, Bunk, Freamon, Prez, Avon, Stringer, Omar, the stars of The Wire? Baltimore’s fictional depiction in the best television series ever made has always been what the Maryland state capital has been about for me. But now there’s a new reason to love the city, its musical stars Beach House.
Beach House are Paris-born singer Victoria Legrand and guitarist and Baltimore native Alex Scally, who were joined on stage at the Trinity Centre last night by a drummer and pianist, all stood in a line in front of three luminous pyramids.
Legrand and Scally met through mutual friends in 2004 soon after Legrand moved to Baltimore, lured by old friends and a wealth of musical possibilities in a city that has a very strong music scene alongside its well-documented crime problems and high murder rate.
The pair first collaborated as members of Daggerhearts, but when that group disbanded they started working together and the rest is history, with even Jay-Z and Beyonce being spotted at their Coachella show earlier this year.
The duo’s third album Teen Dream has finally seen them get the critical and commercial acclaim they deserve. Sticking to the formula from their self-titled debut album and 2008 release Devotion, Teen Dream features Legrand’s hushed vocals over a lush soundscape reminiscent of Yo La Tengo or Arcade Fire at their most plaintive.
A starry backdrop was the perfect setting for Legrand’s sexy vocals on Teen Dream highlights Zebra and Ten Mile Stereo. While in her over-exuberance she almost pushed over her keyboard, Scally remained seated throughout.
Norway featured more of those sultry vocals over a repetitive drum beat, Used To Be sounded even more gorgeous live than on record, while Take Care was abstract and artful, a perfect example of Beach House’s sound.
Baltimore has got a band to be very proud of.