Beach House stays true to its vision

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally of Beach House.
Shawn Brackbill
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally of Beach House.

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are five albums and a decade into their career as Beach House, a Baltimore duo with an instantly recognizable sound. Ostensibly rock, their music is all about colors and textures, energy and emotions, and they’re prone to repeat motifs and even beats if the mood calls for it.

Just don’t call them dream pop. That term no longer encompasses the panoramic ambience Scally and Legrand conjure.

“I’ve been asked so many times about how I feel about dream pop, and I’ve been saying this for years: I don’t care, it’s just a genre,” Legrand says. “But there’s definitely a point where it becomes sticky in the way that a trend becomes stifling.”


“This is my first interview where I’m actually saying I don’t like [to be called] dream pop,” Legrand adds, describing their music as being “like a prairie on fire.” “I don’t personally feel like we’re just dream pop. I feel very much that we don’t have to be put into a category. Can’t we be just Beach House?”

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

On Aug. 28, Sub Pop Records will release “Depression Cherry,” Beach House’s fifth record and perhaps its most vivid one yet. It doesn’t rumble out of the speakers with the euphoric choruses and melodies that have marked previous releases such as “Teen Dream” (2010) and “Bloom” (2012). Instead, the new songs tend to blossom with multiple listens, prizing the power of suggestion over outright declaration. “There’s a place I want to take you,” Legrand sings on the evocative opener, “Levitation,” without ever telling you where, exactly. It’s best left to your imagination.

Legrand is eager to see how the new material will come alive onstage. Performing as a four-piece, the band recently started its tour with a stretch of New England dates that skipped Boston, but it comes to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence on Tuesday. (The group will be in Boston next year.)

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
Victoria Legrand of Beach House performs during 2013 Governors Ball Music Festival.

“Depression Cherry” is Beach House’s third collaboration with Chris Coady on board as a producer, a relationship it started with “Teen Dream.” Coady says working with Legrand and Scally is essentially a cinematic experience.

“Recording an album like theirs, which is so textural, is a lot like shooting a movie,” Coady says. “We get in to the studio and talk for 30 minutes and then start setting up for the first shot, which might be a drum set or an organ. We get the right lighting and the right lenses, and then we record that instrument. Then we tear everything down for the next shot. It’s like filmmaking.”


Legrand says she and Scally have an oftentimes unspoken understanding of how the other works. They can toil for hours in silence as a song begins to take shape.

“The intuitive thing is what has saved us and protected us,” Legrand says. “Our process together has not really changed that much in a decade because it’s about fluidity. We’ve developed a larger set of skills that we might not even realize in terms of our ability to communicate with each other. The language we use has just gotten deeper.”

Coady has witnessed their mysterious chemistry firsthand in the studio.

“The simplest way to put it is that they’re just best friends,” Coady says. “Both of them have this common obsession with musicmaking, and they’ve found that exact person who’s as serious as the other one. The chances are low that you’re going to find someone who’s willing to devote their life to the music the way they have.”

Playing keys and singing lead, Legrand brings a wistful melancholy to the songs, while Scally’s silvery guitar tone is often buffed to a luster. Throughout “Depression Cherry” his guitar sounds more like a human voice than an instrument, constantly in conversation with Legrand’s lyrics. And there’s a newfound softness to her singing — even a spoken-word recitation at the beginning of “PPP.” Her vocals on “Days of Candy” approach the celestial elegance of prime Julee Cruise.


“More than any other record, I was very much aware of never singing in a way that I wouldn’t love or later think, ‘Oh, I sang that too hard,’” she says. “A lot of that comes down to experience. I’ve learned a great deal about singing and about all the different kinds — living singing versus how it sounds on the record.”

“And I’m older, too, and I’m evolving and changing,” Legrand adds. “I’m just embracing those changes and using what I’ve learned. I wanted to be very much in the songs as much as I could. That’s the best place for us to be.”


With Romantic States at

Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel,

79 Washington St., Providence, on Tuesday, 9 p.m.

Tickets: $30, $27 in advance.


James Reed can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJamesReed.