Beach House: Beach House

How fitting that Baltimore denizens Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally chose the name Beach House for their musical ventures, as their laid-back dream-pop single-handedly alleviates any vestige of modern-day stress. The group's sound transports listeners back to seemingly more innocent decades where ‘60s roller-rink organs set the summer evening aflame and crude ‘70s synths and drum machines added a progressive spin to conventional pop. Any fixation on the retrograde instrumental sound fades once the melodic hooks take hold, and the spell cast by “Tokyo Witch” only deepens when the slide guitar kicks in. Though the duo adopts a modest instrumental approach (a synthesizer doubling as a harpsichord in one instance), the range of emotion covered by the 37-minute mini-album is surprisingly broad. “Apple Orchard,” “House On the Hill,” and “Heart and Lungs” conjure an affecting melancholy, a style pushed further on the dramatic torch waltz “Auburn and Ivory,” while the duo gets funky on the uptempo “Master of None.” Beach House's music is unpretentious and, in many respects, simple yet charms nonetheless.

October 2006