[sic] Magazine

The House Of Love – She Paints Words In Red

It’s great to grow up with a band. Better still when they grow up with you. Some of the great records of the modern era have come as something of a surprise. 50 Words For Snow , Bloodflowers , even the new Bowie ,…. contemplative, reflective, wise. Aging does not necessarily mean fading. Youth, of course, has always been wasted on the young and the fledgling House Of Love were wasted in more ways than one – drink and drug excess, in fighting, and saddest of all, signing to the clueless Fontana (a label that wouldn’t understand quality if it slapped them in the face). They survived though. They’re back. And survivors always have the best stories.

She Paints Words In Red is miles ahead of its predecessor – the 2005 comeback album Days Run Away . To me, Days… felt rushed, too caught up in the relief/happiness of Guy and Terry’s reconciliation, too sweet. Those songs never captured the dynamics of the live performances. She Paints Words… is beyond all that. This latest incarnation House Of Love is moving forward, exploring….. excelling.

Important point of clarification; when I say this record is explorative, I don’t mean in the sense of boundary pushing effects, shoegazing etc. That’s not it. So don’t approach this release with a mid-eighties mindset. There are no ‘Destroy The Heart’s here. She Paints Words… is no mbv (thankfully). The House Of Love spread their gaze far wider than their pedal array. On reflection they always have, but those early singles (those guitars), probably pigeonholed the band. What I mean is that The House Of Love are exploring guitar music’s great heritage – the blues, rock n roll, roots….. She Paints Words… is a montage of songwriting excellence, a crafted set of tracks more Abbey Road than Revolver . Which of course is to say that it is a comfortable and wonderful listen from start to finish. Indeed closing track ‘Eye Dream’ is another of those HOL classics that you just can’t imagine being without. Before we reach it though, we’re treated to 11 other varied, impeccably performed songs.

Whilst for the most part She Paints Words…. leans toward the mellower side of things, there is urgency here too. ‘PKR’ (Purple Killer Rose) pulsates, really rocking out during its swiftly reached climax. The album is probably best summed up by another standout, ‘Holy River’. Part Travelling Wilburys , part U2 , ‘Holy River’ is every bit a musicians track. I’m convinced fellow songwriters and guitarists will appreciate this album most of all. It is, quite simply, an excellent collection. Indeed like The Bunnymen’s Siberia it has an impossible, yet credible shout for ‘best album’. Diehards will shoot that idea down of course but as an addition to The House Of Love canon it is beyond reproach.

The House Of Love have grown up.

The House Of Love have grown.

~Album due March 25th~


The House Of Love – 3 disc delux reissue