Memoryhouse: The Slideshow Effect (Sub Pop) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, November 28th, 2021  


The Slideshow Effect

Sub Pop

Mar 14, 2012 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Listening to Memoryhouse is like peering through a rain-smeared window, squinting through sheets of water as familiar images soften into an abstract glow. It’s fitting, as the band originally formed as a multimedia project, pairing short films and photos with nu-classical compositions. Now a full-fledged musical project, photographer/vocalist Denise Nouvion and composer/multi-instrumentalist Evan Abeele have integrated their visual leanings into songturning debut full-length The Slideshow Effect into an affecting, cinematic experience.

Abeelea student in the school of Max Richter minimalismkeeps a tight lid on his compositions, weaving together gentle threads of electric guitar, piano, bells, and drum machine, his building blocks creating sparse caverns of sound for Nouvion to inhabit. Her delivery can’t really be classified as melodic, but it is sweet, owing its positivity more to sincerity than training.

It’s a melancholy artistic exploration, as Nouvion narrates a life marked with longingfor another person or simple transcendence. “I’ve been searching for you in these frames, by face or name,” she mourns in “Punctum.” “We’re not alone,” she chants on “Pale Blue,” her desperation rising up against Abeele’s repeating guitar riffs and violin-driven refrains.

Light sources are keypresented for visual impact rather than sentimentality, as moons, stars, bonfires, all playing supporting roles. “We’ll see daylight through the blinds,” Nouvion promises on near-rocker “The Kids Were Wrong,” painting the image of light on an empty bed. Mopefest? Not so much. All the emotional elegance one could hope forand none of the boredomthe pair plays the dangerous game of teasing a wealth of importance out of the tiniest of everyday occurrences, without turning them into laundry lists of the mundane or specters of sap. Nouvion lingers over life’s smallest details, her elongated syllables mirroring the tactile experience of smoothing wrinkles from the bed, or tracing lines in photographs with a finger. The Slideshow Effect is, likewise, a small gem worth treasuring. (

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