Somewhere between the softness of a bedroom recording session and the enchanting nature of dream-pop, there Memoryhouse lies. Internet praise brought forth a rush of attention after last September’s The Years EP, eventually leading to signing with Sub Pop, and the reissue of this remastered edition. Now, with the addition of two songs, “Modern Normal” and “Quiet America”, this reissue adds to the already haunting chill of the original, leading listeners down a blissful path that quietly stuns.
The duo of Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion re-recorded each track, giving new life to old ideas, but keeping the same sobering magic intact. As a vocalist, Nouvion’s crisp falsetto provides plush warmth to the cool wisps of instrumentals and effects Abeele provides. “Sleep Patterns” is a slow, lulled opener, as guitars seeping in fuzz swirl with Nouvion’s fragile whisper. Her refrain becomes drawn out and sharp amidst the addition of effects from a drum machine and the glint of bells. “Lately” continues the trend of somber, delicate keystrokes, giving texture to a wave of vocals and emotions. Her tale of heartbreak steadily gains momentum with the addition of distant strings.
Throughout their catalog, Memoryhouse brings a fresh approach to the use of vocal samples and effects. Their gloomy mood takes an up turn here, with “Modern Normal”. A garbled vocal sample opens amongst a metallic ring of keys, setting the stage for Nouvion and additional instruments. The playful and reworked “To the Lighthouse” opens with a sample of children giggling, a stark contrast to the shoegazey guitars and dreary piano.
Ethereal and composed, The Years is awash in a melancholy gloom that sticks through the majority of the recording, looming like a single black cloud. Yet the sadness never becomes overwhelming, rather playing off of Nouvion’s romantic vocals, and the ambient chill provided by effects. This reissue stands as a new recording, a promising second beginning for the duo.
Essential Tracks: “Sleep Patterns”, ”Lately”, ”To the Lighthouse”