Published by JB on March 3, 2016
Release date: February 9, 2016
"Sarah, say you'll go home
You've been dead
And I can't forget"
Album review: Memoryhouse – Soft Hate (8/10)
With the interweb bringing us band after band tip-toeing on the periphery of either soft pop, dream pop, ethereal pop, light shoegaze, chamber pop and chillwave – it's the little things that differentiate those who carry a candle, and those who follow behind with a flashlight. Typically the delta that exists between the two is often found in the form of a single song that is blindingly stunning (i.e., Slowdive's 'Alison', or Beach House's 'Beyond Love', or the best from the Cocteau Twins) and remains timeless. Memoryhouse has nearly done exactly that.
The 2016 dream-inducing Memoryhouse single that elevates the best ethereal bands to play above the clouds versus those that simply gaze up at them is delivered here with a five minute blissful barrage of beauty known as 'Into the Woods/Sarah' – with the latter being the catchiest mid-tempo track since the last Washed Out album. If Adele sung a song this brilliantly dark her album would be more worthy of the Dark Side of the Moon sales she accumulates. But then again Adele sounds not a damn thing like Denise Nouvion, and that's a good stroke of fortune for the listeners of 'Sarah'. Wrapped around that tiny centerpiece Nouvion and Memoryhouse deliver a beloved little album that is almost the 2nd coming of the beautiful LP Hate by the Delgados. Both albums are often brilliant and cryptically haunting. You simply don't know at first listen if they were made as the backdrop of a horror movie or the prelude to a brilliant album next time around.
With lyrics like, "I don't believe in your fate", "I'm not sure if we'll make it", "You've been dead and I can't forget" and album cover art featuring the enigmatic Nouvion in portrait style (but with the eyes and nose fully obscured by what looks like a broken and burnt piece of glass) the entire experience equates to a scavenger hunt of what is going on in her brain. An album of pretty rainbows and unicorns this is not. Mix that with the slow motion nature video (human beings do make appearances also) stream of the entire album and you're transported to the woods and wheat fields that Nouvion places as the visual landscape in front of this mostly outstanding album.
The brilliance of 'Sarah' alone is stunning.
"Soft Hate" is now available on first edition Limited Edition Gold Cassette, alongside a bound photobook by photographer Denise Nouvion still available at www.mmry.house.
Buy Memoryhouse's Album Soft Hate (02/09/2016)
Limited Edition Gold Cassette: