House of Love to end this holiday week. Fortunately, they have reunited and are picking up where they left off, without the bad bits. But in the late 80s, when they got started – they were plagued with a considerable amount of bad luck and bad timing.
There were probably a lot of factors there, but the bottom line was; House Of Love achieved that legendary Criminally Underrated/Overlooked status that is sometimes a badge of honor and most times a sign of sheer frustration.
According to their story and several accounts, the band had a terrible go of it with Fontana, the label they were with for the first four albums. I know several artists who complained about their tenure with both Fontana and the parent label Philips – through either lack of marketing, bad decisions, bad direction, ineffective producers, a general lack of enthusiasm in the company towards breaking new acts – a whole shopping list of frustrations. Is that/was that something germane to Philips and Fontana? No. It happened a lot, especially in the 60s. But this was the 80s, rapidly becoming 90s and you would think the machinery was in place to adequately look after the band. But that was much of the problem; they had a fan base, they were doing well, even in the U.S., where several singles hit the top 10 (on the Modern Rock charts), but Fontana was reported to have dropped the ball.
So, House Of Love called it quits in 1993, having weathered the storm since 1986.
But also too, there is the notion that if a producer who doesn’t have the concept of the band down is not going to do them a whole pile of good. And listening to this live concert, recorded at La Cigale in Paris by Radio France International, has an immediacy and energy that many of the albums didn’t. I’m thinking of their 1992 album, Babe Rainbow which was, on its own merits, a good album, but the big difference between their studio albums and their live concerts was a huge injection of energy, and I think that may have been a contributing factor in their lack of substantial success.
But that was then, and this is now and the future is back to looking bright. If you’ve missed them the first time around, or wanted to hear the difference between a live set and a studio album, this is a good place to make the comparison.
In any case – crank it up – walk off the Turkey and get ready for the weekend!