Memoryhouse | The Slideshow Effect

Sub Pop (2012)
By LIZ PELLY  |  February 21, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

When Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion created Memoryhouse, they never intended to start a band. Memoryhouse — named after a 2001 record by German neo-classical composer Max Richter — was meant to be a multimedia art project, combining Abeele's classical instrumentals with Nouvion's photographs and short films. But the blog-powered indie-sphere latched onto the hazy home-recorded electro-pop of their debut Years EP, with Nouvion's balmy, buzzing voice and wide-eyed lyricism. At first, they were oft associated with chillwave, but the new LP suggests that maybe all along Memoryhouse were — like many other bands to emerge out of recession-era lo-fi/glo-fi aesthetics — just a young, pensive dream-pop band grappling with the restraints of budget bedroom recording. On The Slideshow Effect, Nouvion's childlike inflection is center stage for all 10 tracks — it's the album's defining element. She sounds calm, composed, and clear-headed, crooning over huge instrumentals that now seem pre-ordained for Sub Pop. The most surprising tracks are the strongest: "The Kids Were Wrong" is their most jangly indie-pop to date, with surfy power-pop riffs; "Punctum" is a nostalgic, finger-picked ballad where Nouvion sings, "It's not enough to live your past through photographs uncovered." Their lush sonics get twangy on "Bonfire," indicative of their self-proclaimed Emmylou Harris influence. This might not be the experimental genre-crossing venture the duo set out to accomplish, but it is a slideshow of timeless pop songs.
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