Sunday 4 March 2012

Memoryhouse - The Slideshow Effect

Album review by Andy L

*Places cup of milk on bedside table.* Stop wriggling reader; just snuggle into your teddy while I tuck you in. There that’s better, now sleepyhead how about a bedtime story?

Once upon a time in a land far far away (well Canada actually) there lived a boy and a girl. Whiling away their days amongst the evergreen forests, snowy mountains and bountiful Starbucks, our duo had a dream - they wanted to make beautiful music to share with the good people of the world; and so armed with a selection of instruments they set to work. Very soon they settled upon a name for their project; they called themselves Memoryhouse, and it was a fitting decision because the sounds they were beginning to craft suited such a moniker, being infused with nostalgia and a homely warmth.

Soon the time arrived that they were ready to share the fruits of their initial labours with the wider public, and thus our heroes released ‘The Years EP’, then waited with hope in their hearts. The response was favourable, so much so, that one day came a knock at the door from a kindly man from Sub Pop records, who doffed his cap and asked them if they would like to record a full album!! A grateful handshake (plus probably some tea, cake and X-Box play) later, and our duo were back beavering away, forging a fresh batch of melodies.

After months of meticulous toil the LP was ready, but it needed a name – what to call it?? They plumped for ‘The Slideshow Effect’, and again the choice was extremely apt, as these tracks seemed to present snapshots of time, each captured in dreamy soft focus. Pictures were painted that were intimate and reflective, as the girl's (Denise Nouvion) lullaby vocals, smoothly settled amongst the boy's (Evan Abeele) gentle, but upbeat, arrangements.

Throughout the record songs would unfold at their leisure; ‘Little Expressionless Animals’ commencing with a tolling drum beat, then introducing chapel choir harmonies and a sole violin to walk the listener on to the chorus. ‘Bonfire’ was country and western for the midnight hour, echoing a strummed Noel Gallagher B-side from days past, while the charming ‘Pale Blue’ was as endearing as the colour it pertains to be; the music tiptoeing and weaving in and out, like David Silva floating around the eighteen yard box. On the poppy and chiming ‘The Kids Were Wrong’, parallels with Tennis were drawn and for the playroom, cot mobile, twinkle of ‘All Our Wonder’ it was Beach House who provided the template.

All seemed well, but then on a dark day along came the evil music reviewer (possibly from a national publication) intent on crushing our heroes. She said that their music was too one paced, dreary and lacking in bite, then struck them low with a terrible mark - were our boy and girl doomed? No, because to the rescue came The Sound Of Confusion! That blog saw that ‘The Sideshow Effect’ was pretty and a record that isn’t meant to sit up and grab you, but rather soothe and seduce with each listen; not change your world, just make it a little bit nicer. The blog told everyone to engage their imagination and enjoy the album for what it is, and then the wonderful people all ran out and spent their piggybank contents on it! From that day forth all was right with the world as everyone lived happily ever after!

Night readers.

Memoryhouse - The Slideshow Effect by subpop

Free download: 'The Kids Were Wrong'

Memoryhouse's website

Buy the album

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