Beach House | Pop review

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

It's often said that bands have 20 years to come up with their first album, 12 months to do their second – and only then can they make that "difficult third ­album" featuring concept opuses about fish. However, Baltimore duo Beach House have ducked the rule. With ­album number three, Teen Dream, their best so far, they have suddenly become a band everyone is talking about. Their music is often dubbed dream pop, an apt description for hazily blissed-out songs that seem to arrive on fluffy clouds.

Ridiculously beatific, Teen Dream's immaculate constructions are perfect for listening to in the bath, which could make for a difficult transition to packed-out venues. But vocalist Victoria Legrand seems up to the challenge, urging the crowd to "get sweaty!" Live, Beach House's music loses some of its gloss but gains an edge: with guitarist Alex Scally's New Order twangs high in the mix, they sound like a sunnier Mercury Rev or Velvet Underground.

Legrand, niece of French composer Michel, certainly favours the Nico look, hunched over her keyboard, clad entirely in black, forever battling to keep her long locks from smothering her face. A slight Gallic ­hoarseness to her vocals gives the otherwise euphoric Used to Be a dark ­undercurrent; ­Norway and Walk in the Park are ­simply ­beautiful. But, in the course of an hour, in which it becomes clear that the band's default mood is one of either ­narcotic or sexual ­abandon, the songs do all start to sound the same.

At the Sage, Gateshead (0191-443 4661), on 8 March. Then touring.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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