Top positive review
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Perfection perfectly packaged
on 27 November 2012
There is little that has not been written about the House of Love and their defining debut album. Suffice to say that their failure to match the profile and success of the groups which came before and after is one of the great mysteries. This (re-)release can be looked on in a number of ways - the quality of the original album, the value of the (copious) additional material and overall value for money.
As to the first, although the album featured neither the group's finest nor most famous songs it is perfectly-realised creation. Clocking in at barely half an hour, the album's force outweighs the sum of its ten individual parts and leaves one desperately wanting more while glad the group did not.
While some might baulk at the need for five versions of the seminal "Shine On" in the remaining 40 tracks, the House of Love always produced excellent B sides and sessions (see the Fontana B-sides compilation "A Spy In The House of Love" and the 21 track BBC release of the complete Peel Sessions which is an essential foil to the Deluxe re-issue). Half the tracks on offer here are demos and alternative versions never previously aired and even the most assiduous House of Lover will find new treasures here.
Finally, Deluxe is unbelievable value, all the more so given that the original album is currently out of print (as it were) while "1986-1988: the Creation Recording" (in essence the first 25 tracks on offer here minus the Bonus 7" demo offerings of "Shine On" and "Christine") currently retails for c£35.
While not as grandiose as the recent boxed sets of the "Velvet Underground & Nico" or "Blue Lines" (or, if truth be told, as ground breaking) this is a compulsory tribute to a classic album and unjustly neglected group. Essential.