Memoryhouse – The Slideshow Effect (2012)

Posted: March 6, 2012 by Is This Revolutionary? in Album, Reviews
Tags: ,

Memoryhouse is a band that is generally out of the realm of genres I often find myself aligned with. This female-fronted, (originally) two-piece group out of southern Ontario plays a style of music that is clearly influenced by bands not unlike My Bloody Valentine (I originally heard the band through a fantastic “While You Sleep” cover) and other ambient shoegaze acts on their earlier albums – the Lately 7″, Caregiver 7″, and The Years EP. Now, after all of these brief releases, Memoryhouse has released a full-length this year entitled The Slideshow Effect.
The Slideshow Effect is quite a departure from previous releases for the most part, so if you were expecting an entire full-length of dreamy and fuzzy ambience, it won’t be found on this album. Gone are the compositions that are saturated with synth and ambience and seem to be replaced with more of an actual plethora of non-digital instruments. This is in no way meant to take away from the dreamy vibe Memoryhouse has established for themselves from previous albums, but it somehow feels different, not in a progressive way, but seems rather out of place. When I first listened to this, I felt more of an indie-esque air about than the ambience I was used to and reminded me more of a sedated Heartless Bastards with just a pinch of Rilo Kiley though not quite as interesting.

There are a total of 10 songs on the record, one of which, “Heirloom, is a re-recorded and re-imagining of the same track that was on their Caregiver 7″. Personally, I thought that the composition of “Heirloom on the 7″ was perfect as is, and it lost some of its momentum when it was re-recorded for The Slideshow Effect. However, despite my gripes with this full-length, there are some tracks that caught my interest quite a bit. “Punctum” is a really pretty and mellow track that makes use of acoustics that don’t really seem to be present anywhere else on the album. “Bonfire” is also a really endearing track with a chorus that fits nicely with the title itself. I must admit though, the album’s saving grace is the last 2 tracks (“Kinds of Light and “Old Haunts), which return to the sound that Memoryhouse built for themselves from the beginning. If this album doesn’t do it for you, I would say waiting through 8 generally-forgettable tracks to listen to the last 2 tracks might be worth your time.
Rating: While this was a bold move for the band to depart from singles and EPs and try their luck at a full-length, from start to finish it doesn’t really hold up save for a few stand-out tracks. Starting as a band that had a very ambient sound, I was quite confused to hear some of these tracks being that they seemed very out of character for what they’d already established. If you’re more into ambience and dreamy synth, I suggest checking out their earlier releases. If you’re more inclined to check out this album because of the aforementioned indie direction they’re now taking, I would say it’s mediocre, yet worth a listen, but there are bands that do that kind of sound far better and are more interesting in their approach. 2.5/5

 

 

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– Anthony John Czerwinski anthonyjohnczerwinski@gmail.com

Anthony is the newest writer for Is This Revolutionary?, stationed in our Long Island headquarters (Ricky’s still holding down Philly HQ). We’re pleased to have him aboard, and look forward to many more reviews to come.

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