Thursday, 14 January 2010

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

'Dream pop'......

It's been scattered throughout the daily plays here during the first two weeks of the year, what with the exquisite new Beach House sinking in, various Asobi Seksu releases being revisited, and now courtesy of the rather sublime tones of Canadian duo Memoryhouse.

As a resolute Brit, I will of course lament the American application of our mother tongue from time to time. In this case, however, I find myself firmly on the side of the Yankee contingent, as the dream pop tag is a far more appealing and accurate description than the more widely used shoegaze label. As if to prove the point, Memoryhouse last week unveiled their new EP The Years, an exercise in minimalist synths, hazy guitars, and floating vocals. The dreamlike quality to the music contained herein is undeniable. 

MP3: Memoryhouse - Sleep Patterns
Taken from new EP The Years, available for free now

Such minimalism always holds the potential for tedium if applied without craft, a pitfall that Memoryhouse sidestep with grace and poise. The four songs here are short and varied enough to hold the attention. Sleep Patterns floats in unobtrusively on a gentle loop and ethereal vocal, easing in a beat here and a guitar there for added atmosphere. If anything, Lately (Deuxieme) is even more soothing, descending as a musical mist across its brief 3 minutes.  

The Waves adds just a little extra kick, with a touch more bass providing the undercurrent to a track that isn't entirely removed from the more contemplative moments of Portishead or Massive Attack. Then to close proceedings, To The Lighthouse returns the soporific element of their sound, conjuring the exact form of dreamlike landscape that has been pervading my speakers since the decade turned.


Set alongside the (justifiable) clamour to praise that new Beach House record Teen Dream, Memoryhouse fully deserve to receive some of that attention for this generously free EP. 

And if it proliferates the use of that particular genre label, you'll hear no linguistic objections from this cantankerous Limey.

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