House of Love

House of Love s/t LP (Creation, 1988)

There is so much great music out there that it seems wrong to keep on throwing stuff from the Fifties and Sixties at you. Time to fast forward to 1988 and feature some songs from one of the best debut albums any band ever did. This Camberwell, England band did a few singles on the groundbreaking Creation Records label, before releasing this fantastic record. Taking their sonics from the wall of sound punk band Jesus & Mary Chain but leaving the aggression, House of Love created a near flawless debut. The hit from the record, Christine, is the song that stands out, but the others are nearly as worthy. Even the weak songs, sound fine in the context of the record.

I ignored this one back when it came out, not that I'd have been very receptive to it. At the time I was listening to Big Black and Killdozer, reading Herbert Selby, Jr. and crap on Carl Panzram, and pretty much pretending to be a cynical, smart-ass creep. Though I, ahem, wrote bad poetry and was mad about Tom Waits, something like the House of Love was a little too fey for me. Ha! What an ass! I first heard the record at Scott "Secret Center" Miller's house, the evening we were assembling Nar 7"s (his band, my label). Miller was spearheading a mini-Creation Records revival among our small music/record freak scene and he slyly slipped this one on the turntable. Though my ears were tuned more to the Pagans, 60s punk, and free jazz, a song like Christine is awfully hard to resist. I noted the band, got advice to get the first album, and scored one at the local "indie" superstore a couple days later. Listened to it and I didn't feel a need to rush out and buy a pair of pointy boots. However, in a very short lived band called Nebakanezer, I did attempt to cover Christine. Our vocal, bass & drum trio's one show was received with as much hostility as the US Marines march into Fallujah, and this by our friends! So bad was our reception that the band lost the will to practice and broke up out of disinterest.

I don't feel a need to run down the history of the band. There is enough information already out there and, besides, their story is pretty much falls into the UK band + drugs + egos = self destruction, boring records, and/or premature demise theme. Line up changes lead to a 1992 break up. In 2005, the band reformed for a record.

Thank you for the post. This is definitely an 80s band that should not be forgotten. Some beautiful guitar work. I think it worth mentioning that HOL went on to make more good music. Songs like 'I Don't Know Why I Love You' and 'In a Room' off of their next album are definitely worth hunting for. From 'babe rainbow' there are beautiful songs like 'The Girl With the Loneliest Eyes.' Thanks again for mentioning this excellent band.
Funny, I used to own their "I don't know why I love you" 12", and similar deal-- this at a time when 99% of what I listened to was inept KBD punk and raw hardcore. Somehow I just stumbled across it and the simply quality of the song easily rendered any genre issues moot. I haven't thought about them in a long time, but "Christine" certainly revives my interest.
I definitely remember not recognizing the Christine cover until you asked me what I thought about it after the show. I'm laughing thinking about Nebakanezer right now! You were just ahead of our time, man. If you came out today, some fool would put out a 7".

Oh yeah, and this is definitely one of the best LPs Creation ever put out. As important as having great songwriting & playing, they really nailed the track sequence. It flows perfectly. That self-titled comp of their early singles is great too if you don't have that.

How can you not mention "Destroy the Heart" - their best song!

Also "man to child" was good
How can I not mention...?

Hmmm, maybe because I didnt mention any songs other than Christine, which was relevant to the story I was telling. What do you want, a take on each and every song? To tell you the truth, this is one of those records that I think of as a whole, not song by song. As miller points out HOL's debut is a perfectly sequenced record, and like most records that flow this well, the individual titles get lost. Ask me to name the songs on this record and I'll draw a blank. However if you refer to the third song on the second side, I'll know which one you mean. As I wrote in the post, the whole record is fantastic.
So nice to see that it's safe to bust out my Flock of Seagulls records again. Not that I ever em' them anyway.
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