Acid Washed - House Of Melancholy - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Acid Washed - House Of Melancholy

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2013-07-29

All aboard the cheesy cosmic disco revival bus! The opening number on Parisian duo Acid Washed's second album is an absolute joy. Mixing vintage club sounds from Space, Cerrone and Moroder to early techno and S'Express, and bringing it bang up to date with a dash of Flying Lotus trippiness, 'Hearbeat Maker', with its knowingly toy-town synth fanfare, sets the mood perfectly. Its sequenced beats and tom tom runs will have every disco fanatic punching the air and reaching for the poppers.

Unfortunately, the quality on House of Melancholy is distinctly wobbly. Second track 'Fire N' Rain', despite a lovely topical intro, is the sort of likeable 80s Chicago house retred both Hercules & Love Affair and Azari & III have specialised in during recent years, and the pleasure of hearing this sort of thing reheated has dissipated. The proggily-titled 'Golem's Dance', meanwhile, begins with some suitably portentous piano but soon unwinds into a pleasant but generic house track.

Later numbers such as 'For Your Eyes Only' are decent enough, combining gloopy 70s analogue synth with plinky early Depeche Mode melodies and crisp, up-to-date beats. 'Gasoline', in particular, dips into the Mode's bottomless well of goth-light pop, although it comes off sounding a bit like Nick Cave backed by Jean Michel Jarre. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Overall, the pace on House of Melancholy is just a bit too slack, less a call to the dancefloor and more a call to the dinner party. As the album progresses, it looks less and less likely the promise of that excellent opening track is going to be followed up. This isn't to say the music on offer is bad but some of it is distinctly 'blah'.

Penultimate number 'Nautilus' bucks things up by mixing some scintillating modern synth sounds with vintage house beats. It's snappy, full-on and pulse-quickening. This is more like it. Why it's tucked away after so many sluggish tracks I'm really not sure.

The closing title track begins like something off an AFX Analogue Bubblebath album before some moody John Carpenter-esque noodling appears, only to be swiftly replaced by a blandly euphoric fanfare, which in turn gives way to some pure Italo house chords. It sounds like Acid Washed are trying to pack all their music loves into one closing statement. Unfortunately, as on so much of House of Melancholy, they've forgotten to compose a decent tune. Still, the beats are nifty.

House of Melancholy starts off sounding like it's going to be the album Random Access Memories promised to be but wasn't. It ends up as an underwhelming compromise between tasteful chill-out and clunky box-ticking. Be warned, following Daft Punk's dance music history lesson, we may see a lot more of this kind of album.

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