“House Of Love”

THE HOUSE OF LOVE – “House Of Love” (Creation CRE LP 34) May 1988

The yawn turns to a smile. You told me they were like the Bunnymen, Velvets, Doors, Mary Chain, Lemon Drops, and the entire Creation back-catalogue. I cried, ‘Not another crew of Parisien bathtub corpses in leather troos with pisshole-in-the-snow eyes!’

Well, the name does seem to spring from Morrison’s “The Spy”, and they do have a song called “Touch Me”. What do you expect?

Trouble is, when you whack on ‘The House Of Love‘ you’re thrown mercilessly into the single “Christine” – ‘chaos with a capital C’ – and fall in love with this gravelsome voice of calm, while all around lose their heads. And soon you realise that they’re not just JAMC without feedback or Bunnymen with revived desire.

Sure, they’re guitar-fired and Velvet-inspired and all those other tired cliches we use to excuse anything remotely pre-Rap and Rockist, but they also peddle a fine line in melodies, harmonies, lyrics, Passion.

Their songs build and form in a predictable yet beautiful way, leaving us waiting and wanting more, intoxicated – as with Astor’s Weather Prophets – by the balance of controlled sensitive vocals against the dark wild inventiveness of these Housemates; eg. when they scream like vivisected Monkees, or tear off into “Happy”.

“It’s perverted and spiritual”, admits “Hope”, appropriately. For they paddle in both religion and debauchery and are thus caught up in all the contradictions and uncertainties that face West-is-best Christians. “I believe in Jesus, I just don’t have belief” and “protect me through my sleep” goes “Fisherman’s Tale”; “Jesus where does the time go?” asks “Man To Child”. Like Morrison’s “Spy” they seem to intimate our deepest secret fears.

Yet there’s nothing crude or ugly or controversial about The House Of Love: instead they prefer to speak of sex and God (the West’s incontrovertible opposites) in a mature, intelligent way – “Love In My Car”, for example, works itself into a bawdy sweat without generating the stench of pure Dick.

No, The House Of Love steal and replenish, and exist surely between the Devil and the deep blue sea – really they are the next gods of guitar rock and Guy Chadwick has the haircut, heart and horns of its new messiah.

(Len Brown – NME, 21/05/88)

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