The House of Love

1986-88: The Creation Recordings

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Guitar pop -- British or otherwise -- was nearing wasteland status when the House of Love debuted with "Shine On" in the spring of 1987. The Smiths and Hüsker Dü were months away from their respective breakups, Echo & the Bunnymen were about to issue their less-than-great self-titled album, and the Go-Betweens were flirting with yuppiedom. Aside from the short-lived, often-gutless C-86 scene and the then brilliant Jesus & Mary Chain, the House of Love really didn't have that much competition. It's almost as if the bands that influenced them subconsciously faded to give them the much-deserved spotlight. Now that over a decade has passed since the release of the material collected here -- everything they released on Creation, meaning 1988's self-titled debut and four singles racked with lithe greatness -- those who claimed the band's popularity had to do with their existence during a dry era can finally be silenced. Why, you ask? Because most everything here smacks violently of timelessness. "Christine," the penultimate combination of gorgeously spectral pop and noise, still sounds every bit spectacular, as if the eras of acid house, shoegaze, grunge, Brit-pop, post-rock, etc., have done nothing to erode its effect. That song alone should be as well-known as "Light My Fire" or, at the very least, "How Soon Is Now." Without a doubt, time has been extremely good to this era of the band, who, after 1988, was on the brink of leaving Creation for Fontana following a legendary bidding war. While Chadwick's boastfulness didn't help things, his band wasn't the group of underachievers many would like to say they were. Not a bit. If they were in fact underachievers, it was because not enough people bought their records when they were first released. Behold, for here is your penance.

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