Watch and Compare: Beach House versus The xx

Jul 25th, 2012 in Music

Last night two bands that generated a ton of buzz a couple years back, The xx and Beach House, appeared on the late night talk shows (Conan and Jimmy Fallon, respectively).  Watching these performances reminded us what we loved about The xx and their 2009 eponymous debut album (every song a perfect pop gem), and how underwhelmed we have been by Beach House live and on album.

To see and hear what we’re talking about, first check out Beach House’s “performance” on Fallon, and then compare to The xx’s performance of Angels on Conan.  While the critics continue to fawn over Beach House, we continue to yawn uncontrollably.  Singer Victoria Legrand still stands in place and stoically mumbles her lyrics as if a replicant, while Alex Scally has the gall to sit (sit!!) down while playing guitar (you don’t have jazz chops, boy; so stand the frack up!).  The performance is so lacking in any dynamism or interest that we swear that if you listen carefully, half way through their song you can hear Questlove fall asleep and tumble off his drum kit.  Despite the narcolepsy-inducing performance, ?uest seemed OK after.

In contrast The xx lower the house lights, spread the sound, shine a spotlight and display deft dynamism.    We love Romy Madley Croft’s spare, but precise and affecting, guitar-playing and heartfelt vocals (the lyrics seem paperweight, yet honest) on AngelsJamie Smith enthralls with waste-less, mallet-drummed accompaniment, and Oliver Sim chimes in with minimalist contrapuntal bass.  And in the process, you can’t take your eyes off the screen, having been captivated by their performance.  We can’t wait for their impending new album, Context, and tour.

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