Memoryhouse - The Slideshow Effect (Sub Pop)

"It's not enough to live your past through photographs" sighs camera and film enthusiast Denise Nouvion on 'Punctum'. It's an apt lyric given Memoryhouse's beginnings as a collaborative multimedia art project, which saw Evan Abeele's compositions transformed into nostalgic narratives for Nouvion's sepia toned images.

Released Feb 6th, 2012 via Sub Pop / By Melanie McGovern
Memoryhouse - The Slideshow Effect (Sub Pop) Basking in the positive light of 2010's The Years; initially self recorded before being remastered and rereleased on Subpop late last year, Memoryhouse's debut The Slideshow Effect followed an organic creation process, trying and testing the songs that would become the album for the past two years before heading to the studio. It's a process they feel fortunate to have been allowed, and in turn they gained a wider spread of influences from 60's folk and soul (Fleetwood Mac, Dusty Springfield) to neo-classical composer Max Richter's 2001 album after which the duo are named. The result is record with a greater maturity at its core and a comparatively fuller sound; drums feature more prominently, tracks flourish with indie-pop guitar interludes, while the structure of the songs become rather more formulaic.

If The Years represented their winter of discontent, The Slideshow Effect is its hopeful summer counterpart. Of course it is not so black and white as that; there are the usual familiar blurred lines typical in Memoryhouse's work: the old and the new, dream and reality, lights and darks and warmth and cold. There is a featherlight weight to compositions like 'All Our Wonder' which couples neat twinkling percussion with Nouvion's cooing vocals, and while they retain the certain coolness often associated with minimal composition and icy string arrangements The Slideshow Effect employs a carefree poppish spring in its step without entirely trading in what made them so unique from the offset. 'The Kids Were Wrong' is the most immediately catchy and radio friendly; bouncing lyrics, Nouvion's girl-next-door voice central in the mix, and yet the lyrics fall back to the notion of moments and memories lost: "Your parents bed you lay in/Arms outstretched the emptiness and space you left behind".

'Walk With Me' builds to a quietly climactic end; a certain shoegaze influence as its reference point, while the contemplative 'Kinds of Light' is all a'slumbersome with reverb heavy guitars and woozy vocals. This album has all the right lashings of influence and trained technique. Abeele's compositions are intelligent without being overly complex and minimal without being dull, with their slight layers and delicate production allow new sounds to be found upon each listen. It's not a change in direction so much but a progression which has branched out, allowing the duo to dabble in a multitude of styles whilst tying them neatly together with a finish that has all the nostalgia of your favourite record and the surprise of something undiscovered.