Behind the Desert Origins of Beach House's New Album 'Bloom'

Baltimore duo mix lush beauty with dark thoughts

Victoria Legrand of Beach House performs in Melbourne, Australia.
Graham Denholm/Getty Images
May 15, 2012 11:50 AM ET

It's morning, and Victoria Legrand blinks in the artificial light of a Lower Manhattan hotel lobby, dirty-blond locks unfurled over a daisy-print shirt. She and her partner in Beach House, Alex Scally, a slim dude in a black sweater, are discussing the West Texas desert, where they recorded their fourth LP, Bloom, out today.

"It's beautiful," says Scally. "But it's deadly. There are scorpions and rattlesnakes. We were moving this equipment ramp, and this guy was like, 'You better make sure there aren't any black widows under there.' And we were like, 'Ha ha ha ha.' Then we turn it over and there are three black widows. We were stepping on them. It was horrifying."

The idea of a gorgeous landscape with a bad-trip underbelly fits the mood of Bloom. Beach House's 2010 breakout moment, Teen Dream, was full of sugar-crusted hooks and warmly cryptic intimacies. Their latest is darker business. The songs remain lush, but threats lurk everywhere. "Violence in the flowers," sings Legrand on "The Hours."

Scally and the French-born Legrand formed Beach House in 2004 in Baltimore. They hit on their minimalist approach right out of the gate, and they've stayed put in B-more, declining to join the mass indie-rock exodus to Brooklyn.

"We live in a place where we can create our own delusional reality," says Legrand.

As Beach House's profile grows, Legrand's unmistakable voice has been in demand elsewhere; she recently joined her French countrymen Air for a track on their Le Voyage Dans La Lune. "I was very flattered," she says. "But I don't collaborate much. I'm focused on what we're doing, and..."

"It's Beach House 24/7," Scally says, finishing her sentence, which he does a lot. Which begs a question: Are the two a couple?

"We both live alone," she says. "The relationship is music."

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