[sic] Magazine

The House Of Love – The House Of Love, 3 Disc Deluxe Reissue

THE HOUSE OF LOVE were one of the most successful and critically acclaimed bands to grace Creation Records back in the late 1980s. Their eponymous debut album was cited as one of the best albums of 1988 by music magazines and Indie fans alike. It has been out-of-print on CD for some time now. This deluxe edition of THE HOUSE OF LOVE offers the band’s complete Creation recordings from 1987-1988, together with a raft of previously unissued bonus material.

The package boasts all their Creation Records singles, from the original version of ‘Shine On’, ‘Real Animal’ and the US favourite ‘Christine’ (which reached #8 in the Modern Rock chart there) to their final single for the label, ‘Destroy The Heart’. Disc 3 is devoted to nineteen hitherto unheard HOUSE OF LOVE demos, including two exclusive Guy Chadwick songs ‘Hold On Me’ and ‘Modern World’, which were never released!

Cherry Red Press Release

1988 was a rocky time for music. The UK independent scene had lost its darlings The Smiths and the music press were in panic mode. The Melody Express’s of the world needed a No1 but there was no clear successor. Suede wouldn’t arrive for another year. The Wedding Present were too ‘everyman’ to harbour ambitions toward the throne.

Enter The House Of Love.

Chadwick , Bickers and co found their way into many living rooms and hearts through the television. Their video for early single ‘Christine’ displayed a twilit trio of mop tops huddled over their guitars never once looking up. It was shoegaze personified, if it weren’t for the fact they were seated. And it mattered not a jot. The sound was incredible – those guitars!!!. ‘Christine’ hit the target like Roxy Music ‘s ‘Over You’, with added Phil Spector wall of sound.

The ensuing album was, for my money, patchy. At least that’s how it struck me at the time; Nowadays The House Of Love’s records are never far from my playing stack, and this first foray seems fresh and timeless. The debut was always a ‘must have’ simply for the inclusion of ‘Man To Child’ and ‘Love In A Car’, but its riches go deeper. Far deeper. Stripping away the fuzz reveals a very American heart to the music of The House Of Love. Many songs are just rock ‘n’ roll standards buried under layers of guitar; Others take their cue from the Velvets . There’s even some country blues in there too. The thing is, we can’t overlook those guitars. We wouldn’t want to either. It was 1988 and the alternative music world was about to go mad for effect-pedals. The House Of Love, along with the Mary Chain and Kitchens Of Distinction were at the forefront of a movement which would eventually culminate in MBV’s Loveless . Me being a space cadet, schooled on Cocteau Twins , I lapped it up.

Then the rumour mill kicked in – tales of madness and drugs, egos and bust-ups. Was Guy a megalomaniac? Did they actually kick Terry out of the tour bus? Whatever. The bottom line was that Bickers left, the band alighted on Fontana, (A label I don’t care for all that much – See Catherine WheelAdam And Eve ) and there they continued, strongly at first, delivering many more triumphant moments.

And yet some of the magic had dissipated. They say childhood is the happiest time of our lives. The Creation era was really The House Of Love’s childhood and their entire infancy is captured on this collection. It is innocent, possibly even naive but it reveals the bands true essence. They would soon enter the cruel, unfair world of adulthood (Fontana) but not yet. Not here. In a certain way The House of Love will always be associated with Creation. Cherry Red have recognised this with this, celebratory re-issue. which takes in everything the band ever did for McGee’s label. The two bonus discs are both audio and lean toward demos rather than the pointless ‘live version’ filler we tend to get from these things.


Cherry Red do the re-issue thang superbly – witness The Boo Radleys Giant Steps . This 3 disc deluxe version probably won’t hold many surprises for House Of Love converts but it is a desirable object assembled with no little love. The photographs are excellent. Chadwick is there as I remember him, long of neck and bony of cheek, Bickers leaning out from behind. The bonuses include ‘Nothing To Me’, my favourite ‘rare’ House Of Love song, (distant cousin to ‘Shine On’), ‘Real Animal’ is on there too as well as a clutch of songs they recorded with early member Andrea Heukamp . We get a glimpse of the direction the band could have taken, indeed the direction Chadwick had planned for it to go in. Sleeve notes are by Chadwick and McGee and the inlay also contains a nifty 2012 interview with Guy and Chris Groothuizen .

As a post script to all of this. the mid-noughties saw Bickers and Chadwick re-united and I had the pleasure of seeing a performance (and meeting both) in the most bizarre setting, a Brighton jazz club. – (all candle lit tables and beatniks). They seemed to me two of the nicest, most charming blokes you could hope to meet. The resultant comeback album couldn’t match the ambience of that particular evening. But they were back! And whisper it, because they’re hardly shouting from the rooftops, our little House Of Love are still active today and may get something new from them in 2013.

Shine on.

Reissue at Cherry Red

The Boo Radleys – Giant Steps

Classics revisited – Catherine Wheel – Adam and Eve