Review Summary: Empty indeed...
Simplicity and poise were two things that Memoryhouse’s debut EP, The Years
, had in abundance. At twelve minutes length, the EP managed pack in a heavy concentration of beauty, variety, and “chillness,” despite its brevity. It was a dense little EP for sure, and one that displayed the ambitions and creativity of a budding musical duo. A mere ten months after The Years
, Memoryhouse have released their first proper EP, entitled Choir of Empty Rooms
, and never before has a title felt so adequate. The album is just what the name conveys; emptiness. The augur of promise depicted on their debut EP is gone, replaced with an insipid lo-fi ambiance that neither challenges nor interests. It’s dilute and dull, carrying little, if anything, over from The Years
Evan Abeele, one half of the bedroom project, stated himself that this record should be separated from the rest of the Memoryhouse cannon. It is sort of telling, that perhaps even he realizes that this experimental foray leaves much to be desired. The project’s other half, Denise Nouvion, is strangely absent on the album, instead opting for her photography
to take the place of her musical presence. As ambitious as it seems, Nouvion left a hole in Memoryhouse’s sound, which is made very clear by the lack of her vocals. Her chilled tone and minimalist skill added indelible amounts of atmosphere to their EP, and the void she left was filled with fuzz, static, and an aimless .
To put it simply, Evan Abeele has made Memoryhouse’s debut LP bombastically and gloriously forgettable. The subtle beats, samplings, and guitars are nowhere to be found. Instead, Abeele has found it necessary to replace everything with a vapid layer of fuzziness. It’s actually difficult to go in to great detail of what he actually does wrong, or even right for that matter, because everything on the album sounds exactly the same. Despite its nearly forty minutes of music, nothing on Choir of Empty Rooms
stands out. “Summer Sleep” features a few fluttering piano keys which break up the monotony, but other than that, everything in the first half-hour sounds homogeneous. Perhaps the lack of differentiation in tempo is to blame, as each track meanders and trudges along at the same regretful pace, neither speeding up or slowing down for anything. Or perhaps it is the lack of variety within the music itself, as the same sounds and textures are used to ad nauseum. Regardless, Choir of Empty Rooms
manages to go nowhere, making the entire contrived effort seem a lot longer than the run time suggests .
However, Choir of Empty Rooms
isn’t without its charms. Memoryhouse is still incredibly chill, perhaps even more so on this release, and as a whole, the album is very relaxing. The sparse moments of beauty add a nice touch, and “Untitled” is actually a rather fantastic song, as it features more variety in sound an mood then on the seven other pieces. Regardless, the modicum of bright spots found on Choir of Empty Rooms
cannot save the entire effort from the glut of mediocrity that permeates it. The album is a disappointment in every sense of the word, and a poor effort in general, as it retains none of the promise Memoryhouse displayed on The Years