Friday, 6 December 2013

7 inch singles collection: The House Of Love - The Beatles And The Stones

One of my favourite bands from my late teens and early twenties..


A-side: The Beatles And The Stones
B-Side: Love IV
(Fontana 1990)

I'm going to tell you, quite unapologetically, that I'm a big fan of The House Of Love, they were lauded for a bit by the music press around 1987/88 then fell out of favour - but I stuck with them, enjoying their epic chiming guitar pop. Mind you I was a bit a grumpy with them around the time this came out  - not because of the music, but because of the seeming infinite variety of formats they were releasing singles in. This 7 inch version is a gatefold sleeve with a poster ensconced within. There was an ordinary 7 inch version (which I don't have) , and at least one 12 inch version (which I do have), all with different b-sides making me feel a bit narked that to get all the songs I have to buy so many different verisons. The House of Love weren't the only band to be doing this at the time, but they were the only one I cared about.

The Beatles And The Stones is a song about being an individual and celebrating your uniqueness, plenty of people at different times feel isolated and alone, but the right music at those times, means it doesn't matter it can help you be who you are regardless of whether you're alone or not. Funnily enough being one with the music (in this case the titular Beatles and Stones) means you're not alone because the music is there, and out there too are other people with the same feelings and attachments to the music, and you become part of that community - making you alone, but with other loners too. At least that's what I take from the lyrics - whether Guy Chadwick had that in mind when he wrote it I don't know. The Beatles And the Stones is a languid shuffle, that feels yearning and wistful creating a instant and warming sense of nostalgia - even if you're too young to be nostalgic about those things.

On the other  side of this version of the record is an instrumental called Love IV. Unusual for the House Of Love in that their lead man, Guy Chadwick, didn't write it, but instead it was left to the bassist. It starts with a great intro that with a looping and circling guitar riff, and then carries on always threatening to break out into something, about halfway through it almost does break out with a sudden unexpected change in the riff, whilst still on the same rhythmic pulse, but this quickly settles back into the main riff again, and then it's over. Love IV is not bad, but I can't help have the feeling that they were releasing singles in so many formats that they were stuck with having to put half-formed ideas out as b-sides.

 Next time someone who is a true icon of popular music...

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