Monday 25 March 2013

The House Of Love: She Paints Words In Red - album review

The House Of Love - She Paints Words In Red

Cherry Red Records

Out Now


The House Of Love make a triumphant return as the legendary combination of Chadwick and Bickers prove time hasn't diminished their chemistry.

Albums by reformed bands generally get a bad press.  They’re often seen as vain attempts to relive past glories, to drag out the reunion story a little longer and will quite often be ignored by the casual fan.  It’s a fallacy that this has to be the case of course, James’ Hey Ma and Suede’s Bloodsports have in the past few years stood toe to toe with the rest of those bands’ back catalogues by remaining true to the guiding principles of those bands, but maintaining a contemporary relevance.

The album has those melodic traits that characterized the House Of Love’s eighties and nineties work flowing straight through the middle of it from opening track A Baby Got Back On Its Feet through to the final Eye Dream.

It defiantly points to the band’s past without any sense of embarrassment for doing so.  However, it’s far more than a rehash of their sound, it’s a gorgeous, beautiful yearning record, perfectly paced, observed tales of love found and love lost - “everyone’s trying to find the meaning of love, looking for affection, trying to find God” on Trouble In Mind.

At the centre of the sound is the interplay between Guy Chadwick’s vocals and Terry Bickers’ guitar, the basis for the finest moments of their history and it’s clear that the chemistry they have in the studio is still there.  The songs are kept simple and don’t last longer than they need to.  The framework that Bickers lays down allows Chadwick’s lilting and earnest vocal to hover over the music.  It’s a masterful trick that wraps the listener in a comfort blanket of familiarity, whilst at the same time sounding utterly timeless. 

There’s not a genuine standout track on the album, which makes it difficult to talk of highlights, but there’s not a single bad track on there too. It’s a perfect return that will delight the House Of Love faithful and although it may not get the wider attention and acclaim it deserves, it will enrapture those that stumble across it.

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