The House of Love
Days Run Away

Art And Industry

aybe Iíll paint myself into a corner here, but the problem with you indie boys is that even though you claim to like dance music these days, itís the Rapture. And although you try to tell me that you like indie pop, you laud(ed) things like House of Love. Oh, I guess I can understand the past tense. The House of Love, as it stood in the late 80s had some very strange things about them, amid the tame guitar pop that undergirds their sound, namely: noise and psychedelia. The House of Love have grown up and left two of those three things behind. Iíll leave you to guess which two.

OK, that paragraph break was too much time. Itís the noise and psychedelia thatís gone from this first record from the group in more than a decade. Now, donít get me wrong, I love the groupís work on Creation Records. In fact, itís nigh on legendary for expanding the sound of English version of indie that the Smiths had carefully begun mapping out. And, hell, the group is nigh on legendary for the best band break-up ever: singer Guy Chadwick threw guitarist Terry Bickers out the back of a tour bus.

There are good things. Chadwick and Bickers still have the eerie vocal harmony that often sends chill down your spine in certain instances. Just this side of fey, it always felt exactly right amid the noisier moments of the groupís original incarnation. Because theyíre few and far between here, itís hard to get a handle on whether it might actually still work. And yes, the title track (one wonders if it was this song that caused them to get back togetheróif so, I can understand the sentiment), is stellar House of Love material. Itís loud, has a nice solo, and even a nice mid-song breakdown (something sorely lacking in most of the material here).

But in the end, the press quotes sum it up for me all too well: the UK Observerís review of the album claims that Days Run Away ďupdates the House of Loveís classic pop with both experience and freshness,Ē and guitarist Terry Bickers puts it more accurately in Uncut: ďThere are a lot of thirtysomethingsÖready to relive their student days.Ē I couldnít agree moreóthis is an album wholly dependent on having been there the first time. Their original music, however, isnít.

Reviewed by: Sarah Kahrl

Reviewed on: 2005-02-15

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