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Review: Beach House at Palladium Ballroom

Posted 1:22pm on Saturday, Sep. 22, 2012

In concert, Beach House is heard before it's seen.

The sounds roll up and out of the foggy darkness, filling the room (in this case, the Palladium Ballroom Friday night; the concert was nominally to celebrate Spune Productions' 15-year anniversary) with a pleasant, practically narcotic aural haze. You don't listen to Beach House's music so much as collapse into it, succumb to it, lose yourself in a trance and sway along, nearly hypnotized by what Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand have wrought.

And so it was for the slightly-over-half-full Palladium, as Beach House, touring in support of its latest album, Bloom, spent 90 minutes Friday mixing the fresh with the familiar, augmented by touring percussionist Daniel Franz and a minimal, dramatic stage. Legrand's voice has strengthened noticeably since the last time the band came through (two years ago, also at the Palladium) and the overall presentation was tighter -- lean without being weak.

Songs like Teen Dream's Used to Be or Walk in the Park packed more punch, an irony given the band's diffuse tendencies, and blended nicely with Bloom tracks like Lazuli or Myth.

I found Bloom to be pleasing, if inert, on record, and was glad to see Beach House bring the music to life in its own determined way. Juxtaposing woozy melodies with explosive flashes of light helped keep the set from becoming too enamored of sonic twilight. The between-songs banter was kept to a minimum -- "We've always had a really good time in this town," Scally observed halfway through -- placing the emphasis, rightly, on conjuring a sustained mood. Every now and then, it's nice to lose yourself, and embrace sonic style over visual substance.

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