Monday, August 3, 2020
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cover
Artist: Houses of Heaven (@)
Title: Silent Places
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Felte (@)
Rated: *****
Just recently I was turned on to a band from Oakland, California called Houses of Heaven and their debut album 'Silent Places.' Their sound is definitely what I'd call Coldwave, although the band (and their publicist) calls it a fusion of early industrial and techno rhythms with the melodicism of shoegaze and a heavy dose of dub-influenced effects. The guys in the band are Keven Tecon, Adam Beck, and Nick Ott, and they previously had an EP titled 'Remnant' which I haven't heard. To me, the best comparisons I can think of is Suicide meets Xymox (or Clan of Xymox if you prefer) with John Foxx waiting in the wings. Vocals are steeped in reverb (making lyrics a little hard to understand, but you do get the feeling) and the beat is definitely heavy, well-suited for the dark dancefloor, not that those clubs will be open anytime soon. The overall feel is very dark primitive in a cyberpunk sort of way, somewhat cold and distant. On the initial listen of the album I wasn't really knocked out, but I tell you, 'Silent Places' grow on you like a fungus; haunting, malignant and very potent. Although Houses of Heaven has a consistent sound throughout the album, the songs do not sound the same, or even similar enough to cause ennui. Although there's some melody in the music, it's not what I'd call distinctly melodic. To me, it's pretty underground stuff, and reminds me of some of the more obscure and darker bands I discovered in the '80s and '90s, most of which have faded into oblivion by now. There's a certain thrill to these guys that you don't get from the latest Nine Inch Nails or Cure album, and that’s what makes ‘Silent Places’ special. While the whole album is really, really good. My favorite tracks are “Sleep,” “Dissolve The Floor” and “In Soft Confusion”. Put this one on your “must buy” list as it’s coming out soon (May 1st). I only wish I had the vinyl version of this album, but with my "non-essential" business closed for a time yet undetermined, that doesn't seem to be very likely.

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