close your eyes
[music, albums]

XXXI: 1990 The House of Love - "Butterfly"

House of Love - s/t (Butterfly)

A very close call, this one. The first Swell which is probably as good as 41. But I haven't the same personal relation to it. My first Cocteau Twins album Heaven or Las Vegas. Ethereal is the word which must have been invented for them.

I came late to the house of love. But when I arrived there I had to stay. It's a romantic place. A parallel world where everyone is blue, even the sky. Only the sun isn't. It is bright as hell. That's what is so phantastic about the house of love. It's warm in that house but the love is unrequited.

Hannah starts mysteriously. With metallic sounds of buzzing insects and something like a braking train. I hear a metronome. Measured time. Then the bass guitar comes in and the ringing rhythm guitar. Finally the lead guitar. The song explodes after a while but somehow it still keeps the tension. It does not blossom fully. At the end it segues into Shine On. Which is where the sun rises. The glorious, hymnic sound of the House of Love. They go for the sky there. And they reach it. Beatles and the Stones has some spoken word samples from Mick Jagger and John Lennon in the beginning and becomes pristinely bucolic after that.

The Beatles and the Stones suck the marrow out of bone.
The Beatles and the Stones made it good to be alone

A string arrangement which fits. Like on several songs on Nick Drake's first two albums. Shake and Crawl is total bliss. And it goes on with a very rhythmic piece called Hedonist.

What else can I say about this album which is not banal? Nothing. It shines in a glorious beauty. I am in love with Guy Chadwick's voice. It is masculine, sensitive, soothing, effeminate, yearning, everything you could ever want from a voice of a man. And the melodies. The jangly guitars. Enwrapping. Unearthly. Ripe. Doux.

They always make me think of the third Velvet Underground album. Like Lou Reed on that record Guy Chadwick mentions Jesus so many times that you start asking yourself if you missed something about him. Maybe I have to put it the other way. If the idea of Jesus could inspire this kind of music it surely is a good idea. Come to think of it he doesn't sing about Jesus all the time but the way he says that two syllable word totally grabs me. Probably this is because I never ever expected Jesus in rock music. And I found it a nice surprise to hear his name.

How come they never made it? No clue. Their melodies touch me more than most of the tunes of the Beatles. They should have been as big as the Smiths but Guy obviously lacked the lyrical wit and the sexual ambiguity of Morrissey.

The biggest fan of The House of Love on the internet is a Swede. Forests, lakes, moskitos, blue berries and sweet white bread. A good place as any to listen to the magical music of Guy Chadwick and mates. Here are the lyrics which I have culled from that site.

They have a new record out, Days Run Away. I haven't heard it yet. It's always nice to be in the position of looking forward to a House of Love album you have never listened to.

Here is the overview of the series 40 years, 40 albums of which part XXXI was this post.


last updated: 2/23/21 8:55 AM
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