The House of Love

The House of Love (The German Album)

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The first of three self-titled House of Love releases and intitially distributed in Germany only, this compilation was later dubbed The German Album for the sake of disambiguation. Its basis is the six songs from the "Shine On" and "Real Animal" 12-inch singles. The vinyl version adds the awkward and slight "Welt" and a loose and formative version of "The Hedonist," two songs that were previously unreleased; the initial CD version also contains those two songs, along with the "Christine" B-sides "On the Hill" (featuring a rare lead turn from Andrea Heukamp) and "Loneliness Is a Gun" (one of the band's most hushed and touching songs). "Plastic" and "Nothing to Me," despite being B-sides, are both prime House of Love, gracefully lulling and delicate, though the latter carries some casual bitterness. As for the A-sides, "Shine On" here is significantly different from the 1990 version that reached the Top 20 of the main U.K. pop chart, using generous reverb -- even by the early House of Love standard -- and a rump-a-thump drum intro. The caustic "Real Animal," the band's only true rave-up, didn't even dent the independent chart, which remains something of a puzzler -- the Wedding Present's own furiously-strummed A-sides were reaching the Top 10 with regularity.

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