Review Summary: Sometimes I'm pulled away... From my own misery... Your hands cover me... Eyes drift slowly
Does the name of the fledgling chillwave, lo-fi band sound familiar? It certainly should, as it references modern classical composer Max Richter’s atmospheric debut, Memory House.
“Class” and “simplicity” are two words that radiate from both Memoryhouses, and I’m tempted to assume that Richter would be pleased with the association. The homage to one of today’s most prominent neo-classical artists isn’t wasted, as The Years EP
is a soft, quiet, and sobering experience conducted by Memoryhouse, proving to be one of the most nostalgic and evocative releases I’ve encountered this year. Subtle and graceful, Memoryhouse uses much of the same devices as a lo-fi pop contemporary, Beach House, uses; though, to a very differing effect. The bedroom project is a blissful experience as well as ephemeral, defying its namesake. By imposing limits on themselves, both musically and conceptually, Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion's airy EP reaches cloud-like heights.
From an oft-used drum machine, to endless looping, to somberly chilling beats, The Years
uses simplicity to their advantage, even if it’s more of a budget decision than one of artistic direction. Memoryhouse perfects restraint, and the EP’s beauty lies not in melody-laden tracks overloaded with everything the band threw at a wall. Instead the seductive and monotonic tenor is most charming. A surreal atmosphere that emits from the hazy aura of “To the Lighthouse,” as Nouvion coos with an impeccable knack for inducing eyelid-fluttering and head-nodding, sounds perfectly deliberate. It's hard not
to appreciate the levelheadedness of the band's debut- composure is overflowing from the brim. With spacey nuances and the sobering, breezy murmur-like vocals, The Years EP
is what should be described for every sleepy hangover.
When “Sleep Patterns” shifts with uneasiness between a stuttering drum machine beat and uneven coos, it’s a little hazy what direction The Years
will take, and not until the last track does the work feels more fully realized and premeditated. The aesthetic takes a turn for the better in the closer, a wavey, haunting, and graceful song like no other. With elegant twangs spread evenly underneath the pacific vocals, Nouvion’s tender lyrics reach a new plane of comfort as she sings of dreams, of houses in the sky, of continuously drifting slowly and, oddly enough, “His lungs filling with water from the tide.”
Let the serenity of The Years EP
wrap her frosty arms around you as she drowns you in harmonic beauty. The looped melodies create a dreamy whirl of lo-fi pop to lose yourself in, even if it’s for a fleeting 12 minutes. Nevertheless, Memoryhouse’s chill-as-ever EP will either have you drifting off to dreamy lands of clouds or have you thankful you managed to stay awake to hear the closing fadeout of “To the Lighthouse.”
Sleep the summer chill
And sheets of linen
Hush the scattered sound
Of time dispersing