Made in the dark

Beach House, live at the Museum of Fine Arts, December 10, 2008
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  December 19, 2008

HELLO, DARKNESS: Victoria Legrand was right to ask for less light.

"No, seriously, can you turn them down?" A few songs into their set at the MFA's Remis Auditorium Friday, Beach House's Victoria Legrand gave a second, graver plea for less light, and for a moment we wondered what would happen if the lighting guy didn't comply. It wasn't exactly bright in the room to begin with, but as the band trudged funereally through their lugubrious dreamscapes, a request of "Let there be less light" made more and more sense.

With shuffling and echoing programmed beats, spindly guitar lines, and keyboards set to haunting pre-sets, each song was like another go-round on a particularly morbid amusement park ride, where voices reverberated longingly and you could see the next part while still hearing the previous one off in the distance. Guitarist Alex Scally's glistening fingerwork played in conjunction with the slow pulse of the electronic beats and Legrand's offhandedly eerie lilt, and the songs were delivered like a series of waves, the force cresting and breaking, then slowly subsiding, only to rebuild again at a steady pace.

"Pick apart the past, you're not going back," sang Legrand in "Gila" (from 2008's Devotion), summing up the mood of stunned regret and nonchalant sadness. If you were there to get energized or rocked, you'd have been bored shitless as the band coated the mostly bescarfed crowd with their aural codeine. But if you went to find transcendent hope in a morass of sadness, this performance hit sublime pinnacles that some need drugs to reach.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Alex Scally, Victoria Legrand, Victoria Legrand,  More more >
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