Beach House, a Baltimore band that has become synonymous with the term “dream pop,” plays a big show at the Paramount — and a semi-secret show at an undisclosed art gallery in Seattle.
In the span of six albums, Beach House — playing the Paramount Theatre on Wednesday, May 4 — has evolved from purveyors of languid, lovelorn “dream pop” into the band most synonymous with that term.
Two of those albums came out in 2015, both on Seattle’s Sub Pop Records: “Depression Cherry” in August, then “Thank Your Lucky Stars” in October. To get an idea of Beach House’s clout in the indie-music world, one must rewind to 2000 and 2001 to find the last band whose label let it pull off something comparable: Radiohead’s “Kid A” and “Amnesiac.”
Beach House’s core members are guitarist-keyboardist Alex Scally and vocalist-keyboardist Victoria Legrand. The duo — joined live by drummer Daniel Franz — came together in Baltimore in 2004, emerging as the crown jewel of a fertile scene that’s produced numerous intriguing acts, including Roomrunner, Dustin Wong and Future Islands.
With Skyler Skjelset. 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) Wednesday, May 4, at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $31.25 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
Musically, Legrand and Scally opt for atmosphere over easy hooks, her contralto — the lowest type of female voice — earning comparisons to Nico, and his glassy guitarscapes to shoegaze legends Slowdive. But perhaps the best reference point for Beach House’s overall vibe is the films of David Lynch. It’s a comparison they clearly don’t mind, having cast Ray Wise — Leland Palmer, to “Twin Peaks” fans — in the unsettling MTV clip for “Wishes,” off the 2012 album “Bloom.” They’ve also made a concert movie, “Forever Still,” filmed in the West Texas desert, sans crowd, a la “Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii.”
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Watch it — it’s only 27 minutes — and you’ll see how deliberately and precisely the group plays. They do everything that way, from how they arrange their songs — which achieve a transporting quality through repetition, drone notes, fade-ins and fade-outs — to how they manage their image, writing their own bios and declining most interview requests, including one from The Seattle Times.
If asked, however, Scally and Legrand might agree synesthesia — the stimulation of multiple senses at the same time — is their endgame. The deep red cover of “Depression Cherry” might look stark in 2D, but the jacket is made of crushed velvet. And anyone who caught their sold-out Showbox sets on the full-band “Bloom” tour likely remembers the backdrop — four custom light boxes, dimming and brightening in sync with the music — as vividly as the performance itself.
The seats at the Paramount should make a nice fit for Beach House’s heady sounds — it’s easier to drift away sitting than standing — but die-hards with $60 to spare also have the option of attending a semi-secret show Tuesday (May 3) at an undisclosed gallery somewhere in Seattle. (Currently, the show appears to be sold out.) According to the band’s website, Scally and Legrand will “install a design we have created and play as a two-piece within this ‘installation.’ ” Audience members are encouraged to “bring a pillow.”