Beach House at Vicar Street on 28th October 2012

So Beach House have been busy… Tonight is the final stop of their Irish mini-tour after playing to crowds in both Belfast and Cork the previous two evenings. Looking at Vicar Street on this Bank Holiday Sunday you’d swear it had been years since Beach House graced our shores as the venue has never seemed so packed.

Expectations for the show were mixed. On the one hand you have the irresistible notion of hearing songs like the glistening Norway and the soaring 10 Mile Stereo live. But the other side of it is something you find out when you play a couple of their albums on shuffle (sorry track listing), a lot of their songs sound very similar. Airy vocal melodies, chiming guitars and sparse drums are the order of the day. Either way we were intrigued as to how it would play out.

Scepticism in tow we made our way over to the ever inviting Vicar Street. After an elusive entrance which had front-woman Victoria Legrand set up at the back of the stage; they get right down to business with Wild. The crowd react with mass nodding and refrained appreciation. From our balcony vantage point you could call those in attendance bored, but this strain of slow burning dream pop is not meant to be met with exaggerated reactions. The back-to-back appearance of Walk In The Park and Norway set the show up to be a very exciting prospect. Walk In The Park plays out like a beautiful flower that’s flourishing at it’s own pace, unfolding over time and revealing subtle layers. Sadly the band fail to capitalise on the promising start.

The set touches on each of Beach House’s four albums with the focus on their most recent release, ‘Bloom’. Unless you’re a diehard Beach House fan, a lot of the performance will be lost on you, as songs ticked by seemingly at an identical tempo. Most of the vocals are delivered with a long, enunciated drawl that makes lyrics hard to distinguish. The on-stage set up perfectly matches the band and their music. Legrand cuts an interesting figure at the back, hunched over her keyboard, hair flailing as she plays. All the while guitarist Alex Scally spends the majority of the set draped in an overcoat, leaning on a bar stool.

As hard as I tried to enjoy the set, it just fell flat. You could arrive at any moment throughout the 18 song performance and not know if they’d just begun or if they were playing their closing number. Four albums in it doesn’t look like Beach House will be straying too far from their formula any time soon. We can only hope that tonight’s disappointment was a one night occurrence.

Beach House at The Cork Opera House Photo Gallery

Photos: Kieran Frost