Live Review: Beach House

5 February 2016 | 10:23 am | Xavier Rubetzki Noonan

"Legrand's versatile voice was soft and sweet one moment, then commanding — regal, almost — but always utterly captivating."

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Is there a band better suited to the SOH's contemporary music concert series than Baltimore duo Beach House? Our Opera House is a pretty special place: not just because it's imbued with decades of cultural history, but also on a purely physical level. Pop and rock music aren't generally written with the concert hall in mind, but the acoustic properties of the space are perfectly suited to a group like Beach House, whose woozy, otherworldly songs (often labelled dream-pop or shoegaze) already have a way of washing over you.

The moment the band took the stage, the opening chord of Levitation awaiting frontwoman Victoria Legrand's husky alto (and guitarist Alex Scally's breathy backup), it was clear that this combination of space and sound would provide some truly magical sonic experiences. It didn't take long. The duo tour with a live drummer and bassist, and with this rich low-end (including a floor-tom you could feel down your spine), the sound seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. Legrand's versatile voice was soft and sweet one moment, then commanding — regal, almost — but always utterly captivating.

The set featured a comfortable balance of new and old songs, reaching as far back as the first they ever wrote, Saltwater, while showcasing tracks from the group's two 2015 records. Space Song's gorgeous refrain of "fall back into place" was met with rippling, descending lights — one of many effective visual flourishes. During the stunning Silver Soul, Legrand began to anticipate the tails of her vocal reverb and drew out the suspense, leaving notes unresolved until just the right moment, and wringing out all the possible drama.

Few bands of the moment are as texturally aware as Beach House, and the attention to detail paid by the multi-talented performers made it seem effortless. The diversity of the set was testament to the band's enduring commitment to creating unforgettable sonic experiences, and although a handful of the band's best songs didn't make an appearance, you didn't really notice until the spell was lifted at the end of the encore.

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