These days it’s not uncommon for a quiet, bedroom-based project to be blogged about, signed, and tour (not necessarily in that order) with little more than a few songs to their name. Often the result of such a meteoric rise is an epic flameout, with the same hype machine that pushed a band into the stratosphere facilitating their backlash. While there are certainly exceptions to the rule, what almost never happens is the path that Ontario’s Memoryhouse opted for: releasing a quite-good EP, signing to Sub Pop, and then choosing to rerecord and rerelease most of those same songs a year and a half later.
When they first appeared, Memoryhouse were lumped into chillwave and lo-fi categorizations, but after hearing the rerecorded The Years, it’s clear that neither of these associations fit the band. On the new version of the EP, singer Denise Nouvion’s voice floats along with a soft-but-powerful Mazzy Star-like lilt, with the higher fidelity of the new recordings benefiting her vocal delivery above all else. The soundscapes created by band-mate Evan Abeele also sound more crisp and present, with swaths of gauzy synthesizers and strings blending together beautifully.
The best song on the record is still “Sleep Patterns,” whose title always felt like a mission statement for the band (in a good way). The two new tracks are also nice additions, with “Modern, Normal” drifting comfortably into slightly more shoegazy territory, and “Quiet America,” producing waves of sound that swell and fade all-to-quickly during its 2:19. Overall, The Years is best seen as a unified whole—an EP whose soporific undulations blend together to create a singular piece of melancholic but comforting dreampop. Listening now, it’s evident that taking their time was the right decision for Memoryhouse, and a blueprint that more bands would benefit by following.
Memoryhouse—The Years EP
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