It’s nice to know that even indie-rock sorceresses still get attitude-checked by their mothers. Victoria Legrand, vocalist and keyboardist of the beloved dream-pop duo Beach House, got hers checked just the other day. “My mom said, ‘Well, at least you’re not a secretary,’ ” Legrand recalls. “And the thing was, I hadn’t even been complaining. I was like, ‘Mom, I know—I’ve been a secretary.’ ”
Legrand, who was born in Paris—she’s the daughter of a painter and the niece of French composer Michel Legrand—has a voice that can sound hauntingly powerful in one breath and heartbreakingly crushing the next. She was raised in Maryland and Philadelphia, where she spent her teen years, but returned to France to study acting at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq before landing back in Baltimore, where she met her musical other half, Alex Scally, through a mutual friend. “It was an inner feeling, like fate,” says Legrand. Offers Scally: “She was over at my house one night, and I had all these organs all over the place. We were probably drinking—it was 3 a.m. in the middle of summer—and I started playing some chords. But it wasn’t a cheesy TV moment like I’m describing—it was an insanely natural thing. We wrote our first song, ‘Saltwater,’ that night.”
Seven years later, Legrand and Scally are releasing their fourth record as Beach House, titled Bloom (Sub Pop), the follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed Teen Dream (not to be confused with Katy Perry’s 2010 album Teenage Dream—“guess we have to write a song called ‘i kiss [sic] a girl,” Beach House tweeted.) “We had a specific vision for Bloom,” says Legrand, referring to the album’s enchantingly carnivalesque vibe: “Myth” is a powerful torch song, and “Wishes” feels like an end-of-summer Ferris wheel ride—nostalgic and full of longing. “We wrote a lot about the power of imagination,” she says, though both she and Scally are loathe to overanalyze their music. “I want people to feel how it makes them feel,” Legrand adds. “You get older and you realize that everything changes, that nothing lasts. But that also makes being in the moment and having the experience that much more meaningful.”
PHOTO: VICTORIA LEGRAND AND ALEX SCALLY IN NEW YORK, MARCH 2012. ON LEGRAND (LEFT): JACKET (VINTAGE): SCREAMING MIMI'S. SHIRT: SEA. JEANS: J BRAND. RINGS: LEGRAND'S OWN. ON SCALLY (RIGHT): SHIRT: ZADIG & VOLTAIRE. JEANS: HABITUAL. HAIR PRODUCTS: RENé FURTERER. STYLING: JESSICA MYCOCK. HAIR: TAMARA MCNAUGHTON. MAKEUP: KRISTI MATAMOROS FOR CK ONE COLOR COSMETICS/KATE RYAN INC. SET DESIGN: CHAD TUCKER/FAUCHER ARTISTS. SPECIAL THANKS: FAST ASHLEYS.
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