Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
We are all just retainers. We're canisters that are continually having more and more things dumped in. There's no taking anything out. We can feel like we're forgetting things, but tests could show that it's simply not true. It's all there - always and for all time. Everything that's ever left an impression rattles around in the shadows up above - those memories that never rinse, that never vanish. They just get trapped, entering the lot, like a rental car pulling over those horrendous looking spikes that you're, by no means, supposed to travel back over, in the opposite direction. They're stuck and you get to relive them whenever you'd like to and many times when you'd rather have nothing more to do with them. Unfortunately, it's not usually what you want which you receive.
The music of Memoryhouse, the group from a place affectionately dubbed the Royal City in the depths of southern Ontario, Canada, is lined and swaddled with all of the temperamental and vivid memories of the long-gone days and those that were literally last week, those which are still playing out, but taking on the qualities of things that seem like they happened to us so very long ago. The passage of time is what gives everything its distinct hue. Here, with Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion, that hue is milky, blueish, a tanish tone, crimson only is small slices and violet. It's the color of dawn and of a slowly marching autumnal fog that brings strange pockets of cold to otherwise Indian summer-like days that are getting shorter by the second.
The group's latest record, "The Slideshow Current," is a collection of songs that benefit from clear thoughts, even amongst sunken spirits. You get a sense that there's much wanting or much missing, even though the general sentiment is one of having let the lands and the clock hands roll out below the characters, taking them wherever they were bound to be taken. "It started when we were younger/Beneath the lead eyes of the city skyline/We gave ourselves to the current/A surface unswayed in our wake," Nouvin sings on "Walk With Me," a song that suggests that the folks in the song were willingly submissive to the fates and they entered the water without a ripple, leaving no ripple. It's a conclusion that could be depressing or just earnest. It's the way it is. It's the way it's now remembered, even if it wasn't believed at the time. "The Kids Were Wrong," brings us back to a similar thought, one of letting life work on us until we get good at it, until we've collected enough collateral, with Nouvin singing, "Can't find our way to the light/And when this routine ends/Through nights and weekends/We'll see daylight through the blinds."
Memoryhouse Official Site
Sub Pop Records