Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The House of Love Live at The BBC

In 1988, I got my first CD player; purchased my first Creation Records compilations; got further into the British music press; and read a review of "Christine" by The House of Love.

As was typical at that time given the sorry state of alternative radio in this area (WHFS was not totally horrible [just predictable] and the University of Maryland's station was fine but just on a weak signal), I usually read something in either NME or Melody Maker first and then sought out the import CD in Georgetown or at Tower Records in D.C. (I think there was only one in this area in 1988).

The reviews of the first self-titled House of Love album were ecstatic to say the least and yet not entirely overblown; "Christine" remains one of my favorite singles of all time and it never ceases to thrill me when it first starts -- exactly the feedback that I liked in The Jesus and Mary Chain's "Never Understand" only polished into something resembling an Echo and the Bunnymen track like "Bring On The Dancing Horses" (or something similar).

The band seemed to be aiming for a large sound without the bombast of U2 or the cod-Doors poses of McCulloch and co..

And when I saw the band live in early 1990, around the time that my beloved Record Co-Op was closing, they were perfect, filling the old 9:30 Club with waves of sound that prefigured the shoegazer bands already filling small halls in England.

So, that's all simply an introduction to the recently released live album The House of Love: Live at the BBC which collects some early 1990's-era live performances from the band.

While I could easily fault the track listing -- no "Destroy The Heart"!?! -- the album reminds me of why I once thought this band was going to be so popular.

They weren't.

But I know that I'm not alone in remembering a time when hearing "I Don't Know Why I Love You" or "Never" on WHFS felt like hearing U2's "I Will Follow" for the first time.

You can download the album from iTunes here.

You can order the CD from Amazon here.

And there's probably a download available from them as well.

Here's a clip of the band from "back in the day" doing "I Don't Know Why I Love You" which should have been as big as U2's "Desire" but wasn't.

The House of Love "I Don't Know Why I Love You" (live)