As Victoria Legrande leans over her boxy, oddly antiquated keyboard, giant Kate Bush style tendrils flailing around her face, legs akimbo, hands craning skywards, she commands the stage and exudes the intense, magnetic charisma of a dust bowl preacher. Her dusky vocals booming out from the darkness, the voice of a forgotten godhead pealing into the night.
Of all 2010’s great albums and there have been many crammed into these past 12 months, Beach House’s Teen Dream may be the one that outlasts the lists, the cool points, the column inches and the hyperbole surrounding it to become a solid gold plated, untarnished classic. This is due to the duo’s unnerving way with melody. Melody is the dominant lover, the powerful force in every single track they play, no noodling solos, no self involved squall or distracting bells and whistles just wave after wave of intoxicating, dreamy pop hooks.
As the solemn spookiness of opener ‘Gila’ slides easily into ‘Better Times’ and the cinematic ‘Walk in the Park’, its shimmery seductiveness entrancing the audience, their forever evolving melodies envelope you. They coil around you like silver smoke, each one revealing itself to you, unwinding slowly, permeating through you until every track becomes their best, a breathless school girl favourite. This is before the exploding joyousness that is ‘Norway’ erupts with its magical twinkling, light show adding to its ethereal, glacial feel leading into the woozy waltz of ‘Silver Soul’ as Victoria draws Alex towards her as if he were on an invisible string.
This exhilarating atmosphere is broken only when Alex addresses the enraptured crowd to sweetly dub ‘Whelan’s’ ‘Whalean’s’ and thank them, on this their forth visit to Dublin. They reward the audience with the timeless Fleetwood Mac meets Imagination synth swoon of the three hook-tastic ‘Lover of Mine’ and the majestic beauty of ‘Zebra’ a song so imbued with childlike buoyancy and spirit that it is much needed soothing salve to life-chapped hearts, only a black souled robot would fail to be moved by its magnificence. Finishing with an encore comprising of the harpsichord throb of ‘Real Love’ and the dazzling bliss of ’Ten Mile Stereo’ they leave the crowd emptying onto the darkened streets exuding a warmth that radiates through the dank November night.
Photos: Sean Conroy