The band performed on a special tour celebrating their catalogue of recordings released on the Fontana label which they were signed to over the period spanning 1989-93, taken primarily from their third studio album, ‘Babe Rainbow’. Founding member Guy Chadwick recruited a new band lineup in 2020 and following the release of their 2022 studio album, ‘State of Grace’, returned to tour again to play some rarer songs they had not played in a long time.
The set began on Fontana released 1990 compilation album, ‘The Spy in the House of Love’, with ‘Marble’, featuring loud bashings, a psychedelic guitar interlude and creeping vocal parts reminiscent of The Velvet Underground. After playing their best known song and 1987 debut single , ‘Shine On’, also from that compilation track list, the band moved to their 1992 album, ‘Babe Rainbow’, with the sweet grungy trudge of rarely performed ‘Feel’ and ‘In the Tunnel’; a darker track with screeching guitar. The House of Love also performed ‘Crush Me’ and the tribal drum rhythm of ‘Burn Down the World’ from the same album, the latter a distinctively standout song that finished with a descent into cyclical noise chaos.
The band went offstage for the encore with Chadwick returning alone to perform a short solo acoustic set of three songs – ‘Phone’, Blind’ and ‘Fade Away’ – which were all released during the Fontana years. The performances showed the intimate songwriting skills of the musician who takes influence from key songwriters such as Bob Dylan. When the rest of the band returned for the encore, they played their third 1988 single, ‘Christine’, not released on the Fontana label but their eponymous debut album, and ended the show on ‘Love in a Car’ on the same release, which had the distinct high pitched guitar sound layering into heavy guitar noise amongst cymbal crashes that the band became so influential in developing into the shoegaze genre.
15/12/23: The House of Love @ Electric Ballroom, London.
Photos © Simon Green.
© Ayisha Khan.