Posts Tagged ‘House of Love’

PORKY HAS BEEN instrumental in the creation of the latest, 45-page, issue of the above, many years after No.7 was issued.

This is part of the introduction by Shabbir:

“This issue contains an article on ‘Legends of Indie’ and Live Reviews from 2016. We also include album reviews, looking at ‘Days Run Away’ and ‘She Paints Words in Red’. We assess Terry Bickers work with Peter Fij. Also included is a detailed, updated Discography of the band and Guy Chadwick’s solo work, plus more.”

HoL 2013

To see more of this please go to
To obtain the zine in a pdf format email Shabbir at






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Another year is over and, as we do every year, here’s our favourite albums of the past 12 months. These are all ones Porky has reviewed, the exception being Hyperbubble and Manda Rin.

The House of Love made a very welcome return after an eight-year hiatus, She Paints Words In Red being their first release for boutique HoLlabel Cherry Red.
It begins, suitably, with a burst of guitars and Chadwick’s plaintive voice on A Baby Got Back On Its Feet. Meanwhile, on Hemingway, he sounds like he’s always done on more sedate tracks, Leonard Cohen attempting to do The Jam.
Other standouts include the reworked Purple Killer Rose, the guitar assault of Money Man, and Never Again which also rattles on at full pelt.
Nevertheless, She Paints Words In Red isn’t the assault on the senses their spiky debut was, nor is it alike any of the subsequent albums; it is it’s own man, a pleasant and joyful listen.

Less rock, more information may be the motto for Public Service Broadcasting as their debut album soars and floats, ably supported by plummy English accents from a bygone age.PBS
Inform – Educate – Entertain (Test Card recordings), is a sprightly set of tracks, relying heavily on samples, electronics as well guitars and drums. And a banjo.
Spitfire is an inspiring burst of shimmering guitars and beats that mingle deftly with samples from the war-based film The First of The Few. As the act’s name suggests, there’s a focus on using samples from public service footage of the past, such as the Conquest of Everest from the same year Hillary knocked the bastard off. The past meets the present, and PSB follow a fine tradition trawled in the 1980s by Big Audio Dynamite and Barmy Army/ Tackhead.

Fat Freddys Drops’ Blackbird is a more than an hour long, but, it has to be said, it is worthy of such longevity. Freddys
Many will pick up on particular styles and they mine their varied influences, including, of all bloody things, country music. An open mind and a willingness to spread the seeds far and wide is admirable. But if you listen to Blackbird with a view to picking up on the reggae, soul or even electronica sounds (Never Moving is slightly reminiscent of Neu!) you are missing the point. Today’s listeners are more attuned to the diversity and eclecticism of albums. That is why Blackbird will appeal to those who file Bob Marley and the Wailers alongside Led Zeppelin.

Niko Ne Zna make an almighty Gypsy/ Balkan cocktail that sounds neither contrived nor from a Serbian village, but Renegadecertainly closer to the latter. They are a curious live experience: the first time I saw them was when I walked into my favourite record store in Wellington (sadly gone) and they were heading my way while playing before facing shocked motorists outside.
Their unusual style (to Western ears and eyes anyway) transfers easily to Renegade Brass Bandits (Monkey records), 10 tracks of high energy Balkan buzz such as the energetic, frenzied Smoked Paprika but there are also more reflective numbers, like Ederlezi. Traditional tracks Kustino and Gankino mingle with the self-penned material.

Tropical Popsicle’s debut Dawn of Delight (Talitres) was surprisingly satisfying.Tropical
It is the kind of record that will garner all sort of reference points, from
1960s garage psych to The Horrors.
They’re a tight unit who I imagine would be mesmerising live with some drug-induced Len Lye-style psychedelic cut-and-paste footage playing on loop in the background. I can’t fault it really, and it is an album that could be played without resorting to the fast forward button. It really comes alive on Ghost Beacons which sounds like the Stone Roses meets Pink Floyd, with some immense, and enthralling guitar work. The Beach With No Footprints is dreamy pop-psych that captures the shoegazing tag the record label seems to appreciate.

Porky’s good friends at Fishrider Records unleashed a quiet classic with the debut album by The Prophet Hens – Popular People Do PopularPopular People.
The Hens are a four-piece who wear their Dunedin badges firmly on their lapels and shout out their love of all things Flying Nun and the requisite label/ city bands, namely The Chills, the Magick Heads et al.
There are Über-jangly guitars, playful drums and earnest basslines aplenty, with the delectable vocals of Penelope Esplin and Karl Bray. At nine tracks and 29 minutes long it isn’t one of those over-long efforts that the compact disk has encouraged. While there’s a distinct and discernible Mainland sound, Left It Out To Shine drips with English eccentricity and the 60s harmonies endlessly repeated that is the bootprint of Stereolab.

Dreadzone transcend genres and Escapades (Dubwiser records) is certainly a bag of birds.Dreadzone
Too Late features Mick Jones, ex of Big Audio Dynamite, and the song borrows the hook from the brilliant post-punk hit single Is Vic There? by Department S. They’re not a band I would have imagined being linked to Dreadzone, but the melding works.
Places has a summer feel and inspiring lyrics; portions of dub-heavy Next Generation hark back to their finest album, Second Light; I Love You Goodbye adapts samples and a ringing telephone quite cleverly; Rise Up pounds away mercilessly, and Fire In The Dark features a female Arabic voice sequenced by dance rhythms and has an insanely driving chant/chorus. This is the closest Dreadzone will get to Bristol.

Chris T-T’s ninth studio album, The Bear (Xtra Mile recordings) offers a refreshing take on the art of writing, with nods to the Kinks and Blur.The Bear The title track adopts the opening lines to PiL’s Rise, “I could be wrong, I could be right” before T-T quickly changes tune: “Well done John, marvellous insight, you think buying and selling your soul would be better/ well picture me giving a damn .. whatever”.
No icon is too big for T-T, and Jesus Christ hails a visionary and laments those who take his name in vain. Then there’s Paperback Kama Sutra, Bury Me With A Scarab and Idris Lung, music that should be for the masses, but won’t, as anything educational, challenging or even topical has long since been ditched in the too hard basket for music’s controllers. But the Hoodrats know a good thing or two, and The Bear is a heavyweight album, of intelligence and is the work of act that’s reaching a peak.

It was touch and go whether the self-titled release by Hyperbubble and Manda Rin on Pure Pop For Now People would even be considered Rinfor inclusion as it’s short and sweet; but it has six tracks that constitutes a mini-album in Porky’s view. This is a team-up between Texan technics Hyperbubble and Rin, formerly of Glasgow indie giants bis. That sounds like an ideal combo to me and on Geometry II there’s a cohesion and understanding even if it mainly relies on Rin intoning ‘Geometry’ at regular intervals.  This is catchy electro-pop with bouncy drums, multi-layered vocals, and a huge sense of fun.

Teenager Nick Raven is eager and persistent, badgering Porky for a review of his debut, and we’re glad he did.  Raven
Love & Lomography (Powertool records) is an album of craftsmanship, desire and passion. Tracks generally veer from the edgy, entrancing psychedelic efforts of Butterfly and Sitting & Laughing, with folkier moments such as Love and Drown. For an 18-year-old Raven has a worldy-wise head on his shoulders, and this reminds me a little of an acoustic Kasabian or the House of Love. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this kid.


Worst Album of the Year

No contest, really, it was by a country mile, The National’s Trouble Will Find Me, which we said about: “Listening to the disk is a turgid exercise in self-flagellation. The proverbial terms paint and dry are most appropriate as singer Matt Berninger punishes the ears. The opening track, I Should Live In Salt, is a monotone dirge that remains at the same pace throughout. Another uphill stream, Demons, would be ideal for a road trip along a straight motorway with a 30km speed limit for its entirety.”

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It’s been eight years since the House of Love last released an album. I had virtually wrote off any hope of hearing new material, despite ongoing reports that they were preparing new songs. The news late last year of a new album was the best Christmas present Porky could have got.

And I need to be thankful they didn’t sustain the time period between 1993’s Audience with The Mind and Days Run Away from 2005. The House of Love have, in some respects, been the favourite cousin to Porky over the years, accompanying him on his ascent to adulthood; She Paints Words in Red comes during the descent into middle age. HoL

It was as a 17-year-old living in a humdrum town who’s contribution to music is limted to a member of the Average White Band, and a brief mention in an Everything But the Girl album track, that I first heard HoL, on John Peel naturally enough, when he put on Plastic a B-side to Real Animal but which was the equal, if not the better, to its more feted partner. If you want a potted history, check a previous post https://craighaggis.wordpress.com/?s=house+of+love

She Paints Words In Red is their first for Cherry Red, which also released the 3-disk deluxe edition of their debut at the end of last year. They clearly have HoL’s interests at heart as that was a carefully-considered issue of a remarkable album.

It was with enormous anticipation that I put the CD on in the car, driving to work excited and fretting that it might be a massive letdown. Hopes were even higher after seeing the magnificent artwork, long-time HoL photographer Suzie Gibbons capturing some extraordinarily colourful and evocative images on her travels.

It begins, suitably, with a bust of guitars and Chadwick’s plaintive voice. He sings the key chorus low, but the words ‘stay away’ ring with authority – a firm but fair order. A Baby Got Back On It’s Feet is certainly a pleasing opener.

On Hemingway, Chadwick sounds like he’s always done on more sedate tracks, Leonard Cohen attempting to do The Clash. “I feel like Hemingway/ And I’ve got a gun/ I’m gonna shoot someone just for fun.” he sings menacingly in a way reminiscent of another gun-centric song from Days Run Away, Kit Carter.

Internal artwork, a photograph by Suzie Gibbons

Internal artwork, a photograph by Suzie Gibbons

The title track is a beautiful, melodic song that would have fitted snugly on Days Run Away, and it’s not too taxing, with just ten lines. The fourth, and the most surprisingly inclusion, is a reworking of Purple Killer Rose, now reduced to an abbreviation, PKR. This was the B-side of the 7” to 1991’s The Girl With the Loneliest Eyes. It’s included here, because Chadwick says, they didn’t do it justice first time, which listening back to it, I can concurr. He strained so hard on the words he almost sounded demented. On the 2013 version the Londoner is menacing without the eeriness, and Bickers, Matt Jury and Pete Evans play harder. It is a perfect addition to She Paints Words In Red, but wouldn’t have fitted in on their Fontana albums.

Lost In the Blues begins with some masterly Chadwick words: “Tears that lie on my face/ don’t show the thorn in my mind,” but, nevertheless, is a relatively non-descript folk-ish track. Low Black Clouds is on the same railroad, a melancholic yet appealing number with brilliant guitar work.

The band strike up on Money Man, letting loose  with a barrage of guitars and drums. The mood dips on the following track Trouble In Mind, with Chadwick becoming the singer-songwriter he’d occasionally threatened to be, only for that image to be momentarily canned by the uplifting chorus. If there’s a weak link to the album this is it.

Thankfully, the pace, and quality, picks up immediately as Never Again rattles on at full pelt. It continues the band’s obsession with firearms as the frontman asks for “a penny for your thoughts and a big white pill/ or a gin and a gun or a bag to fill.” It’s so mesmerising and captivating I feel obliged to press the rewind button a few times. That trick usually puts a dampner on the next track as it has high heights to reach, but Sunshine Out Of The Rain is as dreamy as its title would suggest. Now I feel the House of Love are really hitting their stride, and I’m reminiscing of the times I would rush to a city 40 miles away to get a new 12” single or album. It isn’t quite meant to be like this with the best being saved for last. The lyrics are enlightening and etheral on Holy River, as the chorus reaches one crescendo, then another and doesn’t let go until we hit 3:57. It feels like 1989 again, playing Safe and I Don’t Know Why I Love You over and over in my bedroom.

And to top it off there’s Eye Dream which is as close to psychedelia as HoL will get complete with a brief snatch of reverb guitar. This would be ideal as a seven-inch B-side, not because of its quality (though HoL B-sides were of a high standard) but it is perhaps best appreciated on its ownsome, a track you can indulge in, outwith the more brazen tracks that’s preceeded it.

At this stage I’ve listened to the album five times, and the most recent one was where I delved the deepest. I still feel I can go deeper as I discover with each listen more subtleties, explore further into Chadwick’s mind and find the points where the band really sound like a fighting unit, ready to take on the world. And when you do that you always find ways where improvements could be made. There’s a couple of tracks I may have excluded if I had any inlfuence at all, but it’s too late for all that.

She Paints Words In Red isn’t the assault on the senses their spiky debut was, nor is it alike any of the subsequent albums; it is it’s own man, a pleasant and joyful listen that for me is already one of the best albums of the year. It was always going to be, of course, unless they released an album of Justin Bieber covers. But, please Terry, Guy, Matt and Pete, don’t take nearly another decade to get into the recording studio.

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It’s been a long time coming. Guy Chadwick and his merry men have hardly been seen or heard since 2005’s Days Run Way album. Now they have an album and UK tour in the pipeline, and Porky is somewhat pleased, to put it mildly. If you don’t know why the pig is slavering, check our feature https://craighaggis.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/legends-of-indie-house-of-love/

She Paints Words In Red will be released via Cherry Red on Monday, April 1. HoL Paints

“We recorded the songs for She Paints Words In Red in ten days in November 2012,” said Chadwick.

“It was great to be recording again, and everything went to plan and gelled from the onset. Terry and I have got back to our original working relationship, with a few healthy quarrels thrown in!”

All the songs are new but there is a reworking of Purple Killer Rose, which first appeared as a b-side on The Girl With The Loneliest Eyes in 1991, and now renamed simply PKR. Chadwick regards it as one of the best songs he’s ever written, but felt they hadn’t done it justice first time around.

The album will be preceded by a single on March 25 on digital, A Baby Got Back on Its Feet, which has a bit of history as you will find a version on YouTube from a gig in Lima, Peru in 2008. It will be released on 7” vinyl a month later. The bonus track, Plans is available on the red vinyl version only.

Full track listing

4. PKR

* Meanwhile, the House of Love’s self-titled debut album from 1988 has also been released on Cherry Red as a three-CD extravaganza, featuring demos, unreleased tracks, b-sides and other goodies.


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As a teenager during the 1980s, music was best consumed underneath the table, like a dog with a bone it had pinched from above.

Big hair and shambolic, flourescent clothing wasn’t for independent sorts who’d bemuse our parents (and most of our peers) with our preference for Echo and the Bunnymen, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and other long-named bands. Indie kids were to be seen, but not heard.

The radio and the charts were an endless stream of post-new romantic synth pop, and all sorts of corporate-grown recycled product.

But I had fallen in love, with a band by the name of the House of Love. I was smitten and it would take some time for me to get over the inevitable parting.

In my mid-teens I was of that breed that was too young for punk and too immature for post-punk. We’d missed a lot, and there was little of substance to make up for the shortfall.

In my small north-eastern Scottish town I would be recommended, by the plumbers and joiners of the distillery that provided me with my first wage, Brothers in Arms, Queen Greatest Hits Vol 1 and the latest album by Level 42, which I would buy at John Menzies in the High Street (and truth be told I actually quite liked).

Then, at the equivalent of sixth-form college, those ears were turned to the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, New Order and Primal Scream, who with 60s revivalists, The Thanes, would perform at my first ever gig, in Aberdeen.

In 1987 indie music was preparing to say its goodbyes to shambling, the floppy-fringed sub-genre whose godfathers were The Byrds, and which even Bobby Gillespie was one the Ace Faces. It had been the dominant scene for a couple of years and produced some of the decade’s finest pop records. But all scenes have a lifespan.

Baggy, Madchester, rave, techno and grunge were months, or years, away.

There was a vacuum, and into that came the House of Love.

Led by Guy Chadwick, he was ably assisted by his ‘Paul MacCartney’, Terry Bickers, a German Andrea Heukamp, New Zealander Chris Groothuizen and Pete Evans. Heukamp would leave after the first two singles, Real Animal and Shine On.

Destroy the Heart was the single of 1988 and John Peel’s listeners agreed, when voting in their Festive 50. A monumental self-titled debut and a fourth single, Christine, followed; Fontana snapped them up and released an album, confusingly also called The House of Love (but known generally as Fontana) and a re-released Shine On gave them their sole British chart hit.

But Bickers had left, famously while travelling on an English motorway, and some say the gloriously tense, edgy sound had been removed.

Two albums followed, Babe Rainbow in 1992, which I personally think almost matches their debut, and the seminal ahead of its time Audience With the Mind a year later. And that was it. One minor UK hit was scant reward for their immense talents.

Chadwick went solo, recorded a decent album in 1998, and in 2005, in a surprise move, the band reformed – with Chadwick and Bickers having set aside their, ahem, bickering to reform for a tour and an album, Days Run Away.They were softer but hadn’t lost their edge.

What made them so good? I often wonder if they were just another indie band but there was something mystical, almost spiritual about HoL. I was an impressionistic teen, lacking in self-confidence and I found a bedfellow in the band, the same way others my age did with The Smiths.

There was nothing in the lyrics that was aimed at creating a new world or addressing current trends, just simple heart-filled lyrics about love, lust, life and everything inbetween. Chadwick’s beautiful voice, Bickers’ deranged guitar playing, the intense musical relationship between the four.

The albums have been re-released in the past few years along with a series of compilations so there is clearly still considerable interest in the band, more than 15 years after the original line-up split up.

As part of this article, I tried to contact Chadwick or anyone involved with the band to find out what they’re up to and arrange an interview. Emails went out to addresses (or presumed ones) of people associated with the band such as Suzi Gibbons, Mick Griffiths, the company who dealt with their PR for the previous album, the unofficial website and Art and Industry, which released Days Run Away, to no avail. So where are the House of Love?

The only reply I received was from Dave Roberts of the unofficial website, who had been told by Terry Bickers in May that the band were “rehearsing new material and planned to record a few songs “in the not too distant future”.

Here’s hoping.

The excellent unofficial website can be found at: http://hem.passagen.se/nyholm/holindex.html

The cover for the debut album: no words, just two gaunt faces.

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