Beach House (photo: Lilly Nguyen)
Brooklyn-based Sound of Ceres filled the Fox Theater August 7 with a cosmically realized blend of angelic vocal stylings by Karen Hover, meshed with precise beats dripping in chromatic synth. The outcome: a Kubrickesque aesthetic that pairs well with Beach House‘s altered dream pop sound of 7, the duo’s seventh full-length record.
7 is an example of breaking from past conventions while sculpting space for a new type of sound to emerge. The haunting introductory boom of “L’Inconnue” (French for “the unknown”) reverberated through the gilded Fox Theater, evoking a transcendent tone steeped in exploration of the self with lines like, “What is you (What is you), Where is she today (Where is she today).” It’s a fitting prelude into this new world that Beach House has created for their typically fuzzy dream-pop melodies to grow and develop, much like Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have evolved in their 13 years of playing music together.
The duo revisited the whimsy of their 2010 record Teen Dream with “Silver Soul” and “Walk in the Park” — two songs dappled in fading summer sunlight that, while listening live, stuck to my senses with the sweetness of freshly-plucked cotton candy and the sting of young love that leaves you questioning your identity.
Beach House moved as shadow figures on a stage saturated in shades of purple and blue, with beams of racing lasers bouncing across the audience as the buoyant, ethereal hum of “Space Song” led us back to themes of consciousness and the cosmos. While the last few murmurs of “Space Song” escaped from the theater, I took a moment to lean into the swivel of my hips and drink up a song that leaves a trail of doe-eyed wonder in its wake.
The buttery vibration of the pair’s 2015 record, Depression Cherry, churned to a halt with a vibrant return to the rejuvenated buzz of 7, while “Lemon Glow” broke any sense of sleepiness left in the air. Legrand’s bold vocals have taken on a more rooted feel in this song that pulsates through distorted guitar, tugging at the listener like a fervent rabbit inviting us down an electropop hole where a new version of ourselves awaits if we allow ourselves to slip into the ether.
Throughout the performance I found comfort in the juxtaposition of light and dark in the band’s mise en scène, and noticed how this ethos pumps through the veins of Beach House as they seek what lies beyond while in turn peeling back layers of self. By the show’s end, I felt like I had returned home from a journey that occurred both inwardly and outwardly, and emerged lighter and full of dreams. Beach House has created a port in the storm for all of us.